The constant felling of trees in India has been a problem for a long time, and Van Mahotsav is important in creating awareness of the issues. According to the forest department, for every tree felled ten tree saplings should be planted to make up for its loss.
As at 2016, tree cover of India (including forests and non-forest areas) was 23.81%. The Government of India has set a target of 33% cover by 2020. In 2015 the State Government of Assam announced that it intended to plant 25 lakh(2.5 million) trees. It said this would not only benefit the environment, but also have a direct influence on the socio-economic development of Assam, which has 70% or its people working in the agricultural sector.
The festival raises the awareness of trees among people, and highlights the need for planting and tending of trees as one of the best ways to prevent global warming and reduce pollution. Tree planting during the festival serves various purposes, such as providing alternative fuel, increasing production of food resources, creating shelter-belts around fields to increase productivity, providing food for cattle, offering shade and decorative landscapes, reducing drought and helping to prevent soil erosion, etc. It helps spread awareness about the harm caused by the cutting down of trees, and it is expected that every citizen of India will plant a sapling in the Van Mahotsav week.
Planting of trees also serves other purposes like providing alternative fuel options, food for cattle, helps in soil conservation and more than anything offers a natural aesthetic beauty. Planting of trees also helps to avoid soil erosion which may cause floods. Also, planting trees can be extremely effective in slowing down global warming and trees also help in reducing pollution as they make the air cleaner.
People celebrate Van Mahotsava by planting trees or saplings in and near their homes, offices, schools and colleges. Novel promotions like free circulation of trees are also taken up by various organizations and volunteers. In general, native trees are planted as they most readily adapt to local conditions, integrate into eco-systems and have a high survival rate and help support local biodiversity. State Governments and civic bodies supply saplings to schools, colleges and academic institutions, NGOs and welfare organizations for planting trees. July is the onset of the monsoon season in India – a time when tree planting is most likely to be effective