Compensatory afforestation is a complicated process.
Compensatory afforestation is a complicated process.(Photo: The Quint/Shorbori Purkayastha)
  • 1. Yeh Compensatory Afforestation Kya hai?
  • 2. Can All Plants Survive Delhi's Pollution?
  • 3. Can Urban Planning Incorporate Trees?
  • 4. NBCC Didn’t Plant Saplings Before Cutting Trees?
  • 5. The Controversial History of Compensatory Afforestation
  • 6. No Faith in Compensatory Afforestation: Green Activists
Cut Trees, Plant Saplings? Compensatory Afforestation Isn’t Easy!

No “big tree” will be cut in south Delhi to redevelop residential colonies, the Union Ministry of Urban Development assured green crusaders and citizens of the increasingly polluted national capital on 28 June. This, after the ministry said that around 14,000 trees will be cleared to build houses for government employees.

But with over 1,500 trees already chopped in Nauroji Nagar and Netaji Nagar, the focus has now shifted to compensatory afforestation — a concept that requires proper planning and assessment. Wondering why? Let us explain.

  • 1. Yeh Compensatory Afforestation Kya hai?

    For the uninitiated, compensatory afforestation refers to the practice of planting new saplings in order to make up for the ecological mess caused by the felling of trees. Several laws and court judgments are already in place to ensure that more trees are planted for each tree cut.

    Under Section 10 of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act 1994, “Every person, who is granted permission under this Act to cut or dispose of any tree, shall be bound to plant such number and kind of trees in the area from which the tree is felled or disposed of by him under such permission as may be directed by the Tree Officer.”

    In addition, a clutch of judgments passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) shed light on the exact number of trees to be planted, for each one cut.

    In the Raghunath Jha vs Ministry of Urban Development judgment, the green court said that permission to cut trees can be obtained only on the condition that “if any tree is fell or permitted to cut, in place thereof at least, 10 trees shall be planted.”

    Thus, the NGT verdict sets the precedence of planting 10 trees for every one tree cut.

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