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India Wants to Spend $6 Billion for New Forests

A lot of damage has already been done.

A forest in Bandipur National Park in sourthern India. (Photo: Vijay Sawant/CC BY 2.0

After years of prioritizing development over nature preservation, India’s government now says it wants to seriously increase the country’s forest cover, and might be willing to spend billions to do it. 

According to Quartz, India’s lower house of government passed a bill this week to spend $6 billion to build more forests in the country, with the aim to have 33 percent of land in India covered in trees. That would be up from 21 percent currently. Which is a lot of trees.

India’s upper house is now considering the bill, which, even in the early stages, invited plenty of skepticism from observers. They questioned if the money would be spent efficiently, and also where the country would find the room to develop new forests. 

“I have my reservations about this project,” Sreedhar Ramamurthi, an earth scientists, told Quartz. “Many a times, forest officials themselves burn down forests when they are pressed for target completion and complain that their work was lost in fires.”

Any bump in forest cover would be welcome, though, since afforestation is also a linchpin in the country’s fight against climate change