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Concrete fencing to boost forests

 

Wooden poles will be replaced by concrete posts for fencing to effectively protect forest areas and green buffers will be created to check the spread of fires under the new government initiative to boost the natural regeneration of forests.

Taking notice of the prolific germination of deodar and other species due to favourable weather conditions, the Forest Department has decided to focus on the natural regeneration to improve the degraded forests. “Biotic interference and forest fires have been the two major factors hampering the natural regeneration and these have to be handled effectively,” said RK Gupta, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.

“Fires are a part of the forest eco system and in a state like Himachal there are no crown fires and the blazes are largely confined to the forest floor, which causes immense damage to new saplings,” he said.

“Dry pine needles on the floor and 'ghasnis' (grasslands) virtually turn the forests into a tinderbox during summers. The spread of forest fires can be checked by creating a buffer of suitable species to insulate inflammable 'ghasnis' and pine forests,” he said. Tree species like peepal, fig, oak, rhododendron, ramban and some bushes and xerophytic plants would be planted to achieve this, he added.

He said the department had been using wooden poles for fencing, but during his recent visit to Gujarat he found that concrete posts were more effective and could be reused. The department would phase out the wooden poles by more durable concrete posts, Gupta added.

The department would make efforts to ensure the survival of maximum saplings of deodar and other species during the current season and issue instruction to the field staff of the department to activate village forest development committees to take care of the saplings, he said.

Efforts would also be made to involve non-government organisations and panchayat functionaries, he said.

Further, regeneration was not possible if the soil lacked adequate moisture, which was essential for germination. With protracted dry spells becoming a common feature, steps would be taken to improve the moisture regime, Gupta said.

The department would resort to water harvesting by raising suitable structure in forest areas. These water bodies would not only improve the moisture regime but also help provide life-sustaining irrigation to saplings during summer, he added.

GREEN INITIATIVE

  • The Forest Department will focus on the natural regeneration to improve degraded forests
  • It will make an effort to ensure the survival of maximum saplings of deodar and other species during the current season 

 

The Tribune (16-05-2013)