Addressing the inaugural session of a two-day conference of principal
chief conservators of forests (PCCFs) and wildlife wardens in New Delhi, Prakash
Javadekar, minister of state (independent charge) of environment, forests and
climate change, emphasised that forest and wildlife officers must focus on four
‘I’s: image, innovation, initiative and interaction. Agreeing that maintaining
and improving the quality of forests was a major challenge, he said, ‘We must
ensure that degraded forest is converted into moderately dense forest in 10
years, and moderately dense forest is converted into dense forest in 5 years.
To that end, water harvesting and changing some species is a must.’

In his view, ‘forest research institutes must draw up a distinct plan for
improving the quality of each forest, taking the existing flora and climate
into consideration.’ Javadekar urged officers to provide solutions to various
challenges. He said that a lot of good work was being done and such success
stories and initiatives needed to be told and retold. He also said that people’s
participation was going to be an important factor in changing the quality of
forests.

Over 70 principal chief conservators of forests and
higher officials are participating in the conference. On the agenda are various
issues related to forests and wildlife, including Forest Conservation Act, eco-sensitive
zones (ESZs) and minimising human–wildlife conflict. Javadekar also signed an agreement
to establish the world’s first centre of natural heritage and training at the
Wildlife Institute of India in New Delhi.