Towards implementation of India’s climate pledges – creation of an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent from forest and tree cover as part of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and the Land Degradation Neutrality Target (LDN) of restoration of 26 MHa of degraded lands.
In recent years, India has made remarkable progress in human development and the quality of life of its people. However, due to growing population, infrastructure development, and resource extraction, the country’s natural resources and ecosystems are under severe pressure. The degradation of natural assets will not only impact India’s growth but also its ability to lift people out of poverty. According to the World Bank, it could result in at least a 5.7% reduction on the country’s GDP. As per the Economic Survey of India, based on precipitation and temperature trends, losses from farm incomes are estimated at 15-25 percent for agricultural households. India is also estimated to lose 5.8 percent of working hours due to heat stress which equals to 34-million full-time jobs in 2030. These conditions will adversely impact the vulnerable and marginalized people, worsening their quality of life and harming their means of sustenance and livelihoods.
Many of these issues are closely interlinked to biodiversity conservation and protection of our natural resources, and if not addressed, will undo progress and hinder poverty alleviation efforts. To address these challenges and to support India in achieving its NDC3 and LDN targets, the AREST partnership adopts a scientific-evidence based and people-centric approach to implement ecosystem restoration across semi-arid and sub-humid zones of peninsular India on four types of habitats – lands infested with invaded species (mainly Lantana), open and natural habitats, riparian zones and degraded agricultural lands.