Eco-restoration key to State’s progress: CM

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan speaking at a seminar on eco-restoration in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan speaking at a seminar on eco-restoration in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has stressed the need for embarking on an ecological restoration mission to rein in the degradation of forests and nurture biodiversity.

Eco-restoration was also key to the State’s hopes of achieving water security, ecological stability and sustainable development, he added.

Inaugurating a two-day national seminar on eco-restoration that concluded here on Friday, Mr. Vijayan elaborated on the efforts being made to phase out exotic monoculture plantations of eucalyptus, acacia and wattle. The proliferation of such invasive species had depleted natural forests and had forced wild animals to stray into human habitations for food, thereby compounding the human-wildlife conflict.

The State currently had a forest area of 11,521.8 sq km — 29.65 % of the total area. Pointing out that the government was committed to attaining the national average of 33%, Mr. Vijayan said such efforts would require converting 7,211 hectares of eucalyptus, 7,342 hectares of acacia and 2,843 hectares of wattle plantations into natural forests.

“Such eco-restoration activities are being undertaken in Thiruvananthapuram, Achencoil, Thenmala, Marayoor, Chalakudy and Palakkad as part of the Eco-restoration Policy 2021. Other invasive alien plant species such as Senna spectabilis (calceolaria shower) that has infested the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary also need to be removed to aid the growth of native indigenous species,” he said.

Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran, who met Director General of Forest and Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Chandra Prakash Goyal earlier, announced the government would distribute title deeds for forestlands in the State before Onam. He added that approval was also received to transfer animals to the Puthur Zoological Park. Mr. Goyal provided assurance of the Centre’s nod for the purposes.

Mr. Vijayan launched two forest management tools developed under USAID’s Forest Plus 2.0 programme. He also received a commemorative postal cover to mark the seminar from Chief Postmaster General Sheuli Burman.

Forests and Wildlife Principal Secretary Rajesh Kumar Sinha, Head of Forest Force P.K. Kesavan, Chief Wildlife Warden Bennichen Thomas, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Planning and Development) D. Jayaprasad and USAID India deputy mission director Karen Klimowski were among those who participated.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2022 5:24:54 am |