VIJAYAWADA: In an attempt to protect the existing forest lands and to reclaim the encroachments in the district, around 258 hectares of plantation is being carried out under the Compensatory Afforestation fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) scheme in Nuzvid, Vijayawada and Mylavaram forest ranges.
According to district forest officer S Rajasekhar, Krishna district has the lowest forest cover in the state which is 49,500 hectares. However, according to the last year’s report, the total forest land in the district is 66,400 hectares. He also claimed that 25 per cent of the forest land was encroached upon which is one of the major concerns of the department.
He also mentioned that encroachments are more rampant in Nuzvid forest range, which is around 45 per cent. Mango orchards are being raised in the encroached lands. Attempts are also being made to reclaim the encroached lands. “We have issued notices to the illegal occupants of the forest land and the court is yet to announce the verdict in some cases,” he said.
Explaining the version of the encroachers, he added, “They claim that it is the land given by the then state government”
Speaking on environment, he said, for a balanced environment, one-third of the total land must be covered with forests. However, one of the alarming facts is that Krishna district has only 7.5 per cent of forest land in the district which is the lowest in the state. According to the Forest Department statistics, Andhra Pradesh has a total forest cover of 23.2 per cent.
“Human interference must be reduced to save the existing forests and awareness must be widely spread in schools and colleges to curb illegal practices in the forest,” he concluded.
EATING INTO FORESTS
Total forest cover in Andhra Pradesh : 63,814 sq.km , 23.2 per cent of geographical area of the state
Total forest land in Krishna district: 49,500 hectares
Total forest land encroached in the district: 25 per cent (12,375 hectares)