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Rejuvenate Ecosystems for Food and Water Security: VC JU

JAMMU: World Environment Day is held annually to raise worldwide awareness to protect the environment and to take proactive steps for the betterment of our planet. 

The day was designated by UN General Assembly in the year 1972 on the first day of the UN Conference on the Human Environment and is being celebrated every year since 1974, engaging governments, businesses, institutes, and citizens to focus their efforts on pressing environmental issues.

The theme for World Environment Day 2021 is ‘Ecosystem Restoration'. To commemorate "World Environment Day 2021", the Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Jammu, organized an International Webinar to highlight the importance of ecosystem restoration with an emphasis on recreating energy-smart ecosystems in Asia's degraded forests and landscapes.

Chief Guest of the occasion, Prof. M.K. Dhar, Vice-Chancellor, University of Jammu, appreciated the efforts of the Department of Environmental Sciences for choosing such important, apt, and meaningful issue for the webinar and stressed the need of planning and implementing eco-restoration measures not only at the community level but at the individual level also. 

He urged the department and the participants to involve in small-scale ecosystem restoration activities for their respective areas which could be the first step towards their contribution to the restoration of the degraded areas in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Prof. Dhar expressed his grave concern over the fast-degrading environs.

He impressed upon the need to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems at the localized scale and urged to contribute every individual in this direction. Prof Dhar elaborated that, "Our Country is one of the mega biodiversity countries of the world.

Having just 2.4 % of the World's land area, yet it hosts nearly 8% of recorded species, therefore ecosystem restoration assumes great importance from us. Large numbers of our people are directly dependent on agriculture and forests. Therefore, we must make sustained efforts even at the individual level to mend what the scientists have called fractured relationship with nature so as to ensure food and water security."

Dr. Himlal Baral, Senior Scientist, and Eco-restoration expert, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Bogor, Indonesia, was the resource person on the occasion. 

He through a PowerPoint presentation on the topic "Bioenergy and Landscape Restoration: Recreating Energy Smart Ecosystems in Asia's Degraded Forests and Landscapes" explained how degraded forests and landscapes can be restored while producing bioenergy and reducing carbon footprints. 

He discussed at length about various aspects of ecosystem restoration including natural capital valuation, challenges, and opportunities, as well as possible policy approaches that should be considered for mainstreaming landscape restoration. 

He also highlighted some good practices among business and industry in India that could be helpful in better management of biodiversity and ecosystem components.

Earlier, Prof. Piyush Malaviya, Head, Department of Environmental Sciences, formally welcomed the participants and briefly introduced the theme of the webinar. Dr. Deepika Slathia, Sr. Asstt. Prof., Department of Environmental Sciences, conducted the proceedings of the program and proposed the formal vote of thanks.

Prof. Raj K Rampal, Prof. A.K. Raina, Dr. Rakesh Attri, Dr. Neeraj Sharma, Dr. Meenakshi Khajuria, O.P. Vidhyarathi, faculty members from other departments of the University, scientists and academicians from other Universities across India, research scholars, students, and the members of the civil society were amongst those who participated in the event.

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