The State government has decided to implement the second phase of the Karnataka Sustainable Forest Management and Biodiversity Conservation (KSFMBC) Project with an estimated cost of Rs. 1,899.72 crore in the next eight years (2013-14 to 2020-21).

The project would be implemented with financial assistance of Rs. 1,701.98 crore from Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA). The State government’s share is Rs. 197.40 crore.

Ecological restoration

The project is aimed at expanding forests for ecological restoration and to facilitate livelihood of inhabitants in the project villages through afforestation under Joint Forest Planning and Management (JFPM).

Addressing presspersons here on Tuesday, Forest Minister B. Ramanath Rai said that the State Cabinet has approved the project and a detailed project report would be sent to JICA seeking funds. The first phase of the KSFMBC was executed with financial assistance of Rs. 745 crore from JICA.

The project will cover Brahmagiri, Cauvery wildlife sanctuaries, Daroji Bear Sanctuary, Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary, Shettyhalli-Sharavathi Sanctuary, Talacauvery, Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary and Kudremukh National Park, Mr. Rai said.

The main activities are plantation of saplings for timber production in the Western Ghats, plantation for producing fuel wood and small timber, soil and moisture conservation measures, farm forestry and agro forestry on private land, habitat improvement in protected areas, income generation activities for poverty alleviation, research, training, and providing basic infrastructure for field work.

The State has 43,35,647 sq km of forest cover and of this, reserved forest accounts for 33,000 sq km.

Mr. Rai said that the government would not evict households that have not constructed houses and are cultivating small plots of land that are declared forest areas but do not have trees. He, however, warned against encroachments.

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