No more monoculturing of tree plantations

Pulp wood growing too will be banned: Forest minister

Speaking to reporters in Bangalore on Monday, Vijayashankar said monoculture tree plantation, especially eucalyptus and acacia, had also resulted in depletion of the water table and environmental degradation.

The government will not allow monoculture tree plantation on forest land and also on land owned by the various forest development corporations, the minister said.

Use of forest land for growing products for industrial consumption like pulpwood will also be banned, he said. 

The State government had already decided to ban the cultivation of eucalyptus and acacia in malnad and semi-malnad regions taking into account the ecological imbalance caused by the two species.

Water table plummeting below 1,000 feet in parts of Kolar district could be attributed to indiscriminate cultivation of eucalyptus for industrial use, he pointed out.

The State government, on March 19, issued guidelines which stipulate that growing eucalyptus will be allowed only in artificial regeneration model and in moderately fertile areas in dry zones and eroded and rocky areas in transitional zones along with species like cassia, pongamia, neem and cashew.

The government will chalk out a five-year programme to root out existing eucalyptus trees in forest land, Vijayashankar added.

Agro-forestry promotion

In a bid to extend agro-forestry in non-forest areas, the State government will distribute three crore saplings every year for planting in farm land.

Incentive amounts of Rs 10 (first year), Rs 15 (second year) and Rs 20 (third year) will be given for three years to take care of each sapling, the minister said.

This scheme will be implemented in association with the Village Forest Committees and Self-help Groups. The type of sapling that needs to be distributed will be decided soon, he added.

The state will unveil a draft State forest policy on World Environment Day (June 5). The draft will be placed in public forum for discussion and debate, Vijayashankar said.

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