Haryana afforestation project to get carbon creditsApril 9th, 2009 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) A small afforestation project in Haryana has become the first in the world to qualify for carbon credits, which the project managers can sell in a developed country.
The European Commission (EC), which has co-funded the Haryana Community Forestry Project - of which this project to get carbon credits is a small part - said in a statement here Thursday that this was the first small-scale afforestation project in the world to get certified by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the UN.
The governing board of the CDM decides if a project qualifies to get carbon credits, and the number of credits it gets. Known officially as Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits, each CER is equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide. CERs are bought and sold in specialised international exchanges. Developed countries use them towards meeting their mandatory greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
In this project, 370 hectares of sandy land belonging to 227 farmers in eight villages of Sirsa district in Haryana have been selected to get the carbon credits, the EC statement said.
The proposed CDM project was approved by the CDM Executive Board of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change March 23.
EC Ambassador to India Daniele Smadja hoped this project would “serve as a model for others”.
The EC is giving a grant of 23.3 million Euros ($30 million) for the overall project, with a contribution by the Haryana government of 6.8 million Euros. It is being carried out in 337 villages spread over 11 districts and with a total population of around 700,000.
The EC said that thanks to the project, tree cover on common village grazing lands has increased from nine percent to 30-34 percent and the number of trees per household on private land has increased five and a half times. “Stabilisation of shifting sand dunes through tree plantation has substantially reduced the occurrence of dust storms and loss of crop land.”
As part of the project, 19 earthen water harvesting dams have been built. They have “dramatically increased the potential for sustainable agriculture by providing year-round irrigation and allowing a shift to more profitable off-season crops”, the EC statement said.
The project has had other beneficial fallouts too. Most of the 294 Awareness Centres built for the project also serve as a health or veterinary clinic or an extra school classroom, the statement said.
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