Dehradun-based Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) on Wednesday released the annual and semi-annual reports of the World Bank funded project on Sustainable Land and Ecosystem Management spread across diverse ecological zones of the country.

Releasing the reports at the ICFRE here, its Director General V K Bahuguna said the increasing demand for food, fibre and fuel is leading to increasing loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the country and if the issue was not addressed urgently, it would lead to serious food and water security problems.

“If issues related to sustainable management of our limited land and water resources in view of the increasing pressure of the population on them are not addressed immediately, our food and water security will have to be seriously compromised in 15-20 years from now,” the ICFRE DG said.

Putting emphasis on the need for a project like SLEM to address the issue of increasing population pressure on already depleting water and land resources, Bahuguna said sustainable land management contributes not only to biodiversity conservation but can also deliver benefits to production systems in terms of soil fertility, erosion control as well as well-being and sustainable livelihoods of local communities.

The SLEM project is a joint initiative between the government of India and the Global Environment Facility in a country partnership programme. Food and Agricultural Organisation and UNDP are also partners in the programme.

(This article was published on February 27, 2013)
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