Chennai, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday destruction of forests and loss of species poses a grave challenge.
Speaking at the International Day for Biodiversity celebrations here, he said ‘the grave challenge we face today is the destruction of forests and the loss of species.’
He said forests were an important component of ecosystem and render vital services which have a direct impact on the very sustenance of life on earth.
‘Because of deforestation, urbanization, industrialization and pollution, we are losing trees at an unbelievable pace’, he said, adding, frequent natural disasters like cyclones, floods have washed out and damaged a lot of trees and affected lives of many.
Pointing out that India’s forest cover stands at 21 per cent as against the global standard of 33.3 per cent, Mr Venkaiah said India has lost over 1.6 million hectare of tree cover between 2001 and 2018, according to a new study released by the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Recalling the recent launch of the truly innovative and unique ‘Tree Ambulance’ and ‘Tree Spade’ initiative, a campaign to save trees, he said Tree Ambulance was conceived, designed, fabricated and equipped to provide first aid treatment to trees, aid tree plantation, assist shifting of trees, carry out seed ball distribution and facilitate awareness drives in favour of tree conservation and afforestation.
‘Unconventional solutions such as tree ambulance coupled with community participation can go a long way in conserving and increasing our green cover’, he added.
He said this day serves as a reminder of the critical role played by biodiversity in sustaining life on this planet and in promoting inclusive and sustainable development and of the need to conserve and foster biodiversity.