50 lakh hectares hit by desertification to be restored

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) India has set a target to make fertile over the next 10 years 50 lakh hectares of land affected by desertification or degradation, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar announced on Tuesday.

"The process will be carried out by adopting the landscape restoration approach, which is crucial to converting the infertile land to fertile. The process involves a scientific approach and techniques," said Javadekar.

India is hosting the Conference of Parties (COP) 14 of United Nations convention from September 2 to 13 to combat desertification.

The Minister pointed out that the conference was crucial as one-third of the world's land area was either affected by desertification or degraded.

"This turns out to be 40,000 lakh hectares. In the Indian context, 29 per cent of land surface or 960 hectares is degraded and we have to make it fertile," he said.

Addressing a press conference ahead of the event, Javadekar added that the country would implement the resolutions adopted at the New Delhi Declaration.

A centre of excellence to combat desertification of the fertile land would be set up at the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, which will study the causes of desertification of the fertile land and devise solutions.

"This centre will conduct the baseline mapping, mapping of the existing schemes and programmes, setting priorities and achieving transformative projects," he added.

--IANS

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