The Forest Rights Act

The Afforestation Scam

The government often proclaims that India's tree and forest cover is increasing. Today, it's taken to making claims that this is central to tackling climate change (also see REDD: A New Danger to Adivasis and Forest Dwellers).  But much of this "increased forest cover" is afforestation plantations, including the "compensatory afforestation" that the law requires when forest land is diverted.

But this kind of "afforestation" means tree plantations, which can actually be harmful to the environment, as they replace diverse natural ecosystems with single tree stands.  Besides, they are frequently done on people's lands or village forests and result in displacing people and denying them their rights.  At the moment, the government is pumping huge sums of money into such programs, which in reality pose a threat to people and forests alike.

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