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Michigan State to help India manage its forests with USAID fund

A $1.5 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development is going to be used to help manage India’s forests and reduce the developing nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers at Michigan State University will use the grant, part of an overall $14 million USAID effort to build India’s capacity, to develop online tools for carbon monitoring and measurement.

Michigan State professor of forestry David Skole will lead a team that will travel to India once or twice a year to help the Indian government develop the tools. They will also help train forestry personnel and local community leaders.

As part of the project, through USAID’s India Forest Partnership for Land Use Science, the Michigan State team will partner with India’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

Currently, India is faced with the challenge of sustaining its rapid economic growth in the face of climate change. Climate change may alter the distribution and quality of India’s natural resources and affect the billions of Indians whose livelihoods are still intrinsically linked with agriculture and natural resources.

“Our team is working on one of the critical problems facing all countries, but especially those rapidly growing developing countries such as India,” pointed out Mr. Skole.

“The project truly enables the transfer of fundamental carbon science research into practical application,” said Mr. Skole, an expert on Carbon2Markets projects and global change science. Mr. Skole has previous experience in programs combining sustainable forest management with emerging carbon markets in African and Asian countries. The programs focus on helping small farmers grow crops that will boost their standard of living while helping to slow climate change.

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