With a view to increase green cover and ensuring environment conservation, the Himachal Pradesh government has taken various initiatives. The present state government has started three forestry projects and participation of local people in conservation and development of forests is being given added priority.
The 'Samudayik Van Samvardhan Yojna' has been launched in the state to ensure participation of Yuvak and Mahila Mandals in forestry activities. The plots in forest lands will be allotted to them for plantation of useful plant species. Similarly, under the 'Vidyarthi Van Mitra Yojna', the plots in forest lands will be allotted to the schools for plantation purpose. Under 'Van Samridhi, Jan Samridhi Yojna', people will be provided processing, value addition and marketing at local-level by collecting herbs from rural forests.
The state government has introduced Mukhya Mantri Mahila Van Mitra Puraskaar and Mukhya Mantri Yuva Van Mitra Puraskaar in order to achieve the desired results from Samudayik Van Samvardhan Yojna and Vidyarthi Van Mitra Yojna. Likewise, for government and private schools, Mukhya Mantri Bal Van Mitra Puraskaar scheme has been started. Under Mukhya Mantri Mahila Van Mitra Puraskaar and Mukhya Mantri Yuva Van Mitra Puraskaar schemes, first prize of Rs. 50 thousand, second prize of Rs. 40 thousand and third prize of Rs. 30 thousand to each mandals would be given along-with certificates for outstanding contribution in forest protection/fire protection, raising of best plantation, biodiversity conservation, developing sustainable usufruct and sharing mechanism.
Under Mukhya Mantri Bal Van Mitra Puraskaar scheme, first prize of rupees one lakh, second prize of Rs.75 thousand and third prize of Rs.50 thousand would be given along with certificates for outstanding work in raising and establishing plantations, demonstration of good practices in growing and protecting trees, contribution in raising awareness for conservation of forests.
Forestry and environment protection can't be successful without proper guidance and public participation. The participation of Panchayats is necessary for forestry and environmental protection. In order to ensure the maximum role of panchayats in forest activities, the state government has started Mukhya Mantri Van Mitra Panchayat Puraskaar' scheme. Under this scheme, first prize of rupees one lakh, second prize of Rs. 75 thousand and third prize of Rs. 50 thousand would be given for outstanding contribution in forest protection/fire protection, raising of best plantation, biodiversity conservation, developing sustainable usufruct and sharing mechanism.
Joint Forest Management and Public Forest Management Committees have been constituted by the Forest Department to increase the green cover in the state. These committees are playing an important role in increasing green cover by planting more and more plants. In order to encourage these committees for forestry activities, the government has launched 'Mukhya Mantri Sarvotam Van Prabandhan Samiti Puraskaar' under which first prize of rupees one lakh, second prize of Rs. 75 thousand and third prize of Rs. 50 thousand would be given for outstanding contribution in forest protection/fire protection, raising of best plantation, biodiversity conservation, developing sustainable usufruct and sharing mechanism.
Recently, on the occasion of 69th Van Mahotsav organised at Rajgarh in Sirmaur district, the Chief Minister launched the plantation derive by planting a 'Devdar' sapling. The Forest department in a special drive planted record 17.51 lakh saplings from 12 to 14 July 2018 throughout the state. As many as 86,231 people of different sections of the society participated in this campaign under which plantation was done in 600 identified spots of 41 divisions of 13 forest circles.
In order to connect the forest enhancement with livelihood, the 'HP Forest Eco System Management & Livelihood Improvement' project of Rs. 800 crores funded by JICA has been started in six districts which include Kullu, Mandi, Lahaul-Spiti, Bilaspur, Shimla and Kinnaur. Under the project, 460 committees will be constituted for promoting activities like forest and environmental protection, biodiversity and organism conservation and improvement in livelihood like activities would be encouraged.
These efforts of the government have helped in steady rise in the green cover of the state. In the Indian Forest Survey Report of the year 2017, one percent increase has been recorded in the forest area of the state in comparison to the report of 2015 whereas in the Indian Forest Survey Report of the year 2015, 13 square kilometres growth in forest area has been recorded.