International conference to be held in August to solve man-animal conflicts in Karnataka: Minister Eshwar Khandre

Stressing the need to increase the green cover by planting more saplings, he said total geographical area under forest should be at least 33 per cent to maintain ecological stability.
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 08:47 IST

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Mangaluru: An international conference to find a solution to man-animal conflict in the state will be held in August, said Forest, Ecology and Environment Minister Eshwar Khandre.

Speaking after launching social an afforestation programme to plant 10 lakh saplings across the state organised by Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) and forest department at Salumarada Thimmakka Tree Park at Alampuri in Bantwal taluk on Tuesday, he said there is a rise in man-animal conflict in the state.

“Along with the protection of wild animals, we have to save the lives of the people from wild animal attacks. The conference will discuss in length on man-animal conflict and find a solution to increase in elephant attacks. The area under forest has declined and commercial activities have come up in the buffer zone. Further, there is a rise in weeds like lantana in the forest, which were also the reason for increase in man-animal conflict."

As per a report, Karnataka has 6,395 elephants, and tops the country in elephant population. There are 263 tigers in the state.

Elephant attacks have increased in Karnataka as elephants and wild animals have been straying into the villages, he said.

Stressing the need to increase the green cover by planting more saplings, he said total geographical area under forest should be at least 33 per cent to maintain ecological stability.

About 21 per cent of the area in Karnataka has forest, of which, two lakh hectares have been encroached upon. Some districts like Bidar has only 7 per cent, Koppal has 4 per cent, Yadgiri has3 per cent forest cover, he noted.

He said that the state government had announced to plant five crore saplings every year. Last year, the forest department was successful in planting 5.43 crore saplings.

"After auditing, geo tagging and third-party inspection of these plants, we have realised that 80 to 90 per cent of the saplings have survived. Even if we plant 10 crore saplings per year it is not sufficient for the state as trees are also felled for development. Sustainable development is the need of the hour to save nature,” he added.

Climate change is a major challenge to the world and the country has already witnessed the impact with Delhi experiencing 50 degrees Celsius during the summers and several people losing their lives.

“Humans have become selfish and are engaged in exploiting nature,” he felt. Though the government has banned single use plastic, in reality it has not been banned fully. There is a need to create awareness among people who in turn should voluntarily stop using it.

He called upon people to take an oath to plant a sapling in the surroundings of their house and nurture it, and also to stop using single-use plastics.

MLA Rajesh Naik said, "We need to take up small waste recycling units in villages and use the recycled water to nurture saplings, which in turn help in improving ground water table and saving the saplings. If a village becomes self-sufficient in waste management, then the country can become self-sufficient.”

Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari D Veerendra Heggade said, “Environment conservation is not planting saplings alone but protecting the trees as well. There is a need to plant fruit bearing saplings.”

He said that since 2021, a total of 6,076 programmes were organised through the Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) to plant saplings across the state.

A total of 10,99,443 saplings were planted on 7310-acre land in the last three years. Of which, 3,70,407 saplings were fruit bearing trees.

Published 02 July 2024, 08:47 IST

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