Replantation of eucalyptus: Government to seek explanation from KFDC MD

The MD’s move is said to be in contrast to the government’s forest restoration policy which aims to phase out the exotic monoculture plantations of eucalyptus and acacia under the KFDC in a phased manner.
Eucalyptus leaves.
Eucalyptus leaves.vikas

THIRUVANNATHAPURAM : The state government has decided to seek explanation from the Kerala Forest Development Corporation (KFDC) MD and Conservator of Forests Georgi P Mathachen, who had written to the deputy inspector general of forests (central) at the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, Bengaluru, to approve an amendment to the corporation’s management plan that would enable KFDC to replant eucalyptus in its plantations.

The MD’s move is said to be in contrast to the LDF government’s 2021 forest restoration policy which aims to phase out the exotic monoculture plantations of eucalyptus and acacia under the KFDC in a phased manner.

“The government will ask for an explanation from the MD,” Forest Minister A K Saseendran told TNIE. “It was after the new management took over the corporation, that it improved in its functioning. The MD’s action can be seen as KFDC’s move to stand on its own feet. So, the issue of forest conservation did not come to their mind. However, when it became clear that the action is against the interest of the environment, we cancelled the order approving replanting of eucalyptus,” he said.

The government on Monday night modified its earlier May 5 order allowing replanting of eucalyptus in KFDC’s plantations for the management plan period of 2024-25. The latest order, issued by Additional Chief Secretary, Forest, K R Jyothilal said according to the government’s 2021 Eco-restoration Policy and under the project to mitigate wild animal-human conflicts, it was decided to phase out acacia and eucalyptus from forest areas.

The May 20 order also revealed that the Union government had not approved KFDC’s recommendation to replant acacia and eucalyptus trees in its plantations as claimed by the KFDC MD. “In this scenario, the order has been restricted to felling eucalyptus trees,” said the latest order.

Plantations under KFDC - 10,000 hectares

  • Tea, coffee, cardamom: 3,000 ha

  • Eucalyptus: 1,500 ha

Rotation years

  • Eucalyptus: 9 years

  • Acacia: 18 years

  • Mangium: 7 years

  • Albizia: 7 years

  • Bamboo: 8 years

  • Teak: 60 years

Plantations under forest department - 33 species

  • Area: 1,56,204 ha

  • Teak: 76,776 ha

  • Teak and softwood: 13,455.93 ha

  • Mangium: 2,820.75 ha

  • Acacia: 7,728.06 ha

  • Eucalyptus: 6,821.03 ha

  • Cane: 3,435 ha

  • Bamboo: 5,231.99 ha

  • Medicinal plants:3,181.03 ha

  • Pine: 546 ha

  • Albizia: 202.29 ha

  • Anjili: 589.6 ha

  • Wattle: 2122.57 ha

  • Cashew: 4,397.16 ha

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