BENGALURU: As a part of the habitat improvement exercise, especially dry grasslands in the state, and to protect the critically-endangered Great Indian bustards and Blackbuck, the Karnataka forest department has started clearing eucalyptus plantations in Ranebennur’s Blackbuck sanctuary.
Clearing the eucalyptus trees from the region was a 10-year-old demand from conservationists as the area is water-starved. They had pointed out that unplanned plantations by staffers has not only hampered the natural biodiversity, but also caused suffering to the species residing in the patches.
They pointed out that these trees were affecting the natural movement of animals and flight of birds in the dry grasslands. They also severely affect the groundwater table. The Central Empowered Committee has now approved the removal of the trees. The department will clear 200Ha of eucalyptus plantation in the area. Earlier in April, water holes were created in the sanctuary to ensure animals do not wander out.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife, Vijay Kumar Gogi, told TNIE that the exercise of removing the trees will start after monsoon ends. The small shrubs will be handled through de-weeding. The exercise of removing the trees will start post-monsoon.
He added that the protection of other grasslands and eastern plains will be taken as per budgetary allocations and management plans of the regions.