BENGALURU: Karnataka has gained in forest cover, an increase of 289 sqkm in the last two years.
As per India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2015, that was released on Friday, it stands in the fourth place after Tamil Nadu, Kerala and J&K and has managed to regenerate its green cover mainly through plantation activities.
Tamil Nadu the first in the country, has had a whopping increase of 2,501 square km through successful agro-forestry practices and better conservation practices. Presently, 21.65 per cent of Karnataka is under forest cover with the four districts of Chikkamagaluru, Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu and Hassan covered in very dense forests while Chamrajnagara and Belagavi having a good cover of moderately dense forest.
With rapid development and infrastructural activities, Bengaluru Urban has taken a severe beating and is showing a decreased forest cover of 30 sq km.
Unfortunately, the hill districts of Chikkamagaluru and Dakshina Kannada that have very dense forest cover are showing a decrease in forest area cover of 10 and 12 sq km respectively.
Karnataka PCCF Vinay Luthra expressed happiness at the increase in forest cover area and said it has been mainly through plantation activities in government and private lands. “This is all because of the Krishi Aranya Prothsahane Yojane launched in 2011. Under this programme, people were given incentives of `45 per seedling and many farmers came forward to plant teak, sandalwood and Hebbevu,” he said.
He added that this programme is still continuing. “Some districts have shown decline because of a variety of factors like the working plan not being sanctioned and many other reasons which we will look into.”