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Forest and Carbon Sequestration



In India, after agriculture, forestry is the second-largest land use. 80.9 million hectares, or 24.62% of the country's total land, are covered with trees and forests in India as of 2021, ranging from dry zone forests to Himalayan temperate forests. As a mega-bio-diverse country, the country has a high level of endemism.


Forests play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change through a process known as carbon sequestration. The long-term storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere in plants and soils is known as carbon sequestration. There are two types of carbon sequestration, geologic and biological. Geologic carbon sequestration is the term used to describe the process of capturing carbon from factories and power plants. It is turned into liquid under pressure and then kept underground in porous rock formations. Natural processes like photosynthesis are able to absorb atmospheric carbon. Forests serve as carbon sinks by taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the form of wood, leaves, and roots.


The carbon dioxide that trees collect from the atmosphere is stored as carbon in their wood, roots, and leaves. Lowering the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, this procedure not only lowers the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but also aids in lessening the effects of climate change. Forests, in addition to collecting CO2 through photosynthesis, also contribute to carbon sequestration by storing carbon in the soil. When plants die, their parts disintegrate and are integrated into the soil, where they can be preserved for many years or even centuries.


Although carbon sequestration in forests is crucial for lowering atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, it is also susceptible to deforestation, changes in land use, and other human activities that may interfere with the natural carbon cycle. Deforestation, for instance, removes the trees and other vegetation that are storing carbon dioxide, releasing it back into the atmosphere.


It is crucial to preserve and restore forests, as well as to apply sustainable forest management techniques that encourage the growth of trees and other plants, in order to optimise the benefits of carbon sequestration provided by forests. Furthermore, employing sustainable farming methods like agroforestry can contribute to a rise in the amount of carbon sequestered in the soil, hence reducing the effects of climate change.


According to the Living Planet Report 2006, India has the third-greatest gross national product, trailing only the United States and China. In terms of purchasing power parity, India is currently the fourth-largest economy and is expanding by 8 to 9% annually. If environmentally responsible regulations are not in place, this rapid development, along with the demands and aspirations of more than one billion people, poses a challenge to forest conservation. In this regard, it is important to investigate additional initiatives beyond carbon sequestration in cabins, such as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), Ecological Footprint Analysis, and Forest Certification. In conclusion, forests are essential for carbon sequestration, which helps to mitigate the effects of climate change. To get the most out of this significant process, it is crucial to preserve and restore forests, as well as to utilise sustainable land use techniques.


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