Emphasising the need to create an enabling environment through small steps such as planting more trees, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that new and innovative ways must be thought of, to bring more areas under forest and tree cover. Inaugurating a two-day conference on “Sustainable landscapes and forest ecosystems: Theory to Practice” in national Capital on September 12, the Environment Minister urged the gathering to deliberate and come out with out-of-the-box ideas and solutions on increasing the forest cover much beyond the stipulated 33 per cent. “Innovation is the need of the hour. Innovation co-efficient now is more important than any other co-efficient”, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said.

Reiterating the Government’s commitment to increase the country’s forest cover from 24% to 33% of the geographical area and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent in forests, as reflected in Nationally Determined Contribution, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the target is proposed to be achieved through a number of planned afforestation drives and initiatives. The Minister advocated the balancing of environmental and developmental concerns and also urged the gathering of scientists and foresters to devise a solution to the problem of weeds.