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Mizoram paves the way for strategic forest conservation across the HKH
Mizoram has the highest forest and tree cover as a percentage of its geographical area (around 88.78%) of any Indian state. These forests are a vital carbon sink for the country. Alarmingly, the state’s forests have experienced severe degradation in recent years.
Recognizing this threat and the opportunities for incentivizing community-based conservation, Mizoram officially endorsed its State REDD+ Action Plan (SRAP) – India’s first – on 17 December 2019. The plan – drafted with support from the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), ICIMOD, and GIZ – focuses on increasing forest carbon stocks through results-based payments to communities for forest conservation and by addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. In March 2020, Mizoram also established the country’s first REDD+ Cell to coordinate and implement REDD+ activities.
SRAPs will contribute to India’s ambitious REDD+ targets. As part of its Nationally Determined Contributions, India has pledged to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030. It has also committed to the Bonn Challenge by aiming to restore a 21 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
Other Indian states and HKH countries have taken a cue from Mizoram. ICFRE and ICIMOD helped Uttarakhand become the second Indian state to draft and endorse its SRAP in 2019 and are in the process of developing such plans for Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim. State-level action plans are also being prepared for other HKH countries such as Nepal and Myanmar.
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