Land Suitability Assessment For Forestation Villupuram District

Land is a finite resource with competing and conflicting uses. Unplanned and unscientific use of land can exacerbate climate change and disasters like drought or floods. Judicious use of land resources is key in meeting the state’s social, economic, and environmental development goals. A comprehensive land suitability assessment can guide responsible and sustainable development practices and land-use policies.

Tamil Nadu is planning to increase its tree cover from 23% to 33% of the total geographic area (TGA) by the year 2030. Almost 1,06,05,541 acres of land have to be under tree cover to meet this target. Currently, the state has 23% of its TGA under tree cover, which is 73,91,741 acres. An additional area of 32,13,800 acres of land needs to be forested to meet the state target.

Forests in many parts of India, including Tamil Nadu, are facing numerous challenges, including deforestation, degradation, loss of biodiversity, and conflicts between forest-dependent communities and forest authorities. The climate of Villupuram, with its hot and dry summers and moderate rainfall, is suitable for the growth of certain types of forests, such as tropical dry deciduous forests and thorn forests. These forests are adapted to survive in regions with high temperatures and irregular rainfall patterns. Trees such as Teak, Neem, Tamarind, Indian laurel, Acacia, Prosopis, Ziziphus and Jackfruit are common along with Banyan, Fig, and Bamboo near rivers and other water bodies. However, excessive deforestation, land-use changes, and human activities can negatively impact the forest cover in the region, leading to degradation and loss of biodiversity. It is important to implement effective forest conservation and management strategies to protect and enhance the forest cover in Villupuram and other similar regions (IMD; NIC, MoE and IT 2023).

The objective of this report is to identify unused lands in Villupuram district and to evaluate to what extent these unused lands can be utilized to meet the state’s forest target of 33% of the total geographic area (TGA) under tree cover by the year 2030. Villupuram, district has a total geographical area of 3,907 km2 of which 1,092 km2 or 28% has been classified as unused or fallow lands. The technically suitable lands will help fulfil 85.29 % of the district target which is an area of 1,92,914 acres or 781 km2 of land. This would result in the creation of a carbon stock to the tune of 6.52 million tonnes of carbon (MtC). Of these identified technical lands, 1,674 acres or 6.7 km2 of land were meeting the high potential criteria. These lands are distributed over 95 plots in the district. This can generate a carbon stock of 0.06 MtC. To estimate the carbon stock, the coefficient of 33.82 tonnes of carbon (tC) per acre is utilised. This coefficient has been obtained from carbon stock values of forests in Tamil Nadu, as per The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Forest Survey of India (FSI, 2017), (FSI, 2019), (FSI, 2021).

Subscribe To Our Newsletter