State for participatory eco restoration

The Kerala government has come out with a vision document for its ecological and forest restoration programme, proposed to be implemented with the participation of forest-dependent communities.

The policy framework for eco-restoration works was approved by the State Cabinet on Wednesday.

The monocrop plantations of acacia, eucalyptus and wattle, which have lost their ecological significance and have proved detrimental to the ecology, will be phased out and steps will be taken to ensure growth of natural forests in these plantations. These plantations are spread across an area of around 27,000 hectare. The phasing out of the plantations may take two decades to complete, according to the document.

The teak plantations under the State government, located in wildlife corridors, river valleys and areas that are vulnerable to natural hazards, will be converted into natural forests. The forest restoration activities will be undertaken after taking into account the ecology of the region and the issues faced by the people residing there, the document stated.

Clearing of invasive plant species such as mikania, wattles and senna and animals like African snail and African catfish from the natural ecosystem of the State will be undertaken. Modern methods for prevention of forest fire will be introduced. Fire control measures will be implemented with public support to protect the forest tracts, it said.

Rehabilitating people

The document suggests relocating the forest dwellers to suitable locations with their consent. The relocation scheme is planned as part of the efforts to improve the living conditions of the forest-dependent communities. Steps for creating livelihood options and ensuring modern education and basic infrastructure facilities for these communities will also be undertaken, the document stated.

Plant and animal species facing threat of extinction will be identified, conserved and propagated.

The government will also work on a proposal for taking over private holdings and estates located in critical areas, considering the biodiversity value of forests and for protecting wildlife and reducing human-wildlife conflicts. The ecological restoration in these areas will help in connecting the isolated forest areas, improving the mobility of wild animals and reducing human-wildlife conflicts, the government hoped.

The plan also speaks about conservation and protection of mangroves and coastal ecosystem.

Planting of indigenous fruit trees will be undertaken for creating better habitats and ensuring food security for wild animals, the document said.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 9:20:44 am |