USAID launches new forest monitoring tool in Bihar

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Bihar’s Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on Friday jointly launched a new forest monitoring tool, which will use satellite images and geo-analytics to improve forest monitoring, planning, and management in the state.

While speaking on the occasion, USAID’s India Deputy Mission Director, Karen Klimowski, said in India, USAID invests in forest conservation, management, and restoration to build a sustainable and climate-resilient future … (we are) hopeful that this new tool will increase the accuracy and consistency of forest landscape monitoring in the state of Bihar .

The launch was organized at Aranya Bhawan’ here on Friday. Dipak Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary (Forest) in the Bihar Government, thanked USAID and said the government would “scale up the use of the monitoring tool–which was tested in Gaya–to other parts of Bihar.

The USAID, in partnership with the Government of India, is improving rehabilitation and management of more than one million hectares of India’s forests. These better managed forests pull more carbon out of the air, enhance water yields, and improve livelihoods for indigenous and tribal communities. With a quarter of India’s population dependent on forests, support for these communities is critical not only to combat climate change, but advance inclusive development and economic growth for communities in rural areas.

The new tool provides reliable baseline information through remote sensing, instead of relying solely on field visits, which will help the state government reduce the time and resources required to implement and plan forestry interventions. Importantly, the tool is also low cost and easy to navigate.

The tool has been developed under USAID’s Forest-PLUS 2.0 program, which is a five-year joint program with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India. Forest-PLUS 2.0 works in Bihar, Kerala, and Telangana to manage forests, which are an important component of broad-based, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth that meets local needs and addresses global environmental challenges.

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