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Forest Dept to eradicate lantana

 

The Forest Department has drawn up a plan for the eradiation of lantana, an obnoxious weed which has infested forests and invaded agriculture fields, affecting productivity and rendering uneconomical small land holdings.

The weed is estimated to have spread over 1,85,000 hectares mainly in the Shivalik hills. The Forest Department has decided to remove the weed and plant fruit trees and other eco-friendly species.

To begin with 5,000 hectares will be treated. The government has decided to launch a massive afforestation drive of medicinal and broad-leaved species which could provide food, fodder and fuel, particularly to Gujjars and Gaddis.

The finances will be provided by the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority of India, the Green India Mission Fund and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act funds.

The campaign will be carried out to bring under forests 20,000 hectares of non-cultivable land.

Efforts of the department have helped increase the forest cover from 11,780 sq km in 1991 to 14,679 sq km in 2011. As per a survey report an increase of 11 sq km was noticed since 2009.

The government had adopted guidelines of the New State Forest Policy. The objective for the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17) is to increase the forest cover through the participation of the local population.

A Working Group Committee has been set up to recommend strategies to increase, conserve and protect forest wealth. About 80,000 hectares will be afforested in the next five years and 45 lakh medicinal plants will be planted this fiscal. 

 

The Tribune (29-04-2013)