Maharashtra to launch Tree Credits to promote sandalwood cultivation

| | Updated on: Nov 25, 2011

Maharashtra government is planning to promote the planting and harvesting of sandalwood trees in the State. Under the scheme, christened Tree Credits, the State government will encourage farmers and landholders to grow sandalwood trees which could be harvested after 15 years.

The Social Forestry section of the Forest Department will soon launch the Tree Credits scheme, under which a tradable certificate, similar to carbon credits, would be issued to a farmer, who manages to prevent one tonne of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere by planting and growing a tree for at least five years.

The ‘Tree Credit Certificates' (TCC) will be like equity shares, whose price movement will be determined by demand and supply in the market. TCC will be required to be bought by individuals and polluting companies as a form of compensation for environmental pollution.

Vehicle owners and factories, which emit carbon dioxide, will have to buy a certain number of TCC. The money generated from TCC trade would act as an incentive for farmers to grow and protect trees for a numbers of years.

Senior officials in Maharashtra Forest Department said that the Tree Credits would be soon launched after its gets clearance from the State Cabinet and Legislative Assembly. Sandalwood tree has been especially chosen for the scheme because of its ability to capture carbon and for its market value, the official said.

Districts such as Nashik and Sangli are ideal for growing sandalwood. Currently, across India, sandalwood is illegally cut and smuggled to overseas markets. When sandalwood would be available in plenty, smuggling and other illegal activities will stop. Keeping in mind the economic benefits, farmers will grow them, the official said.

Some of the forest laws will be relaxed so that cutting and transporting of sandalwood trees by farmers will become legal. Given the huge export potential, sandalwood trees could become a money spinner for them, the official said.

Published on November 25, 2011

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