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State to launch project to conserve biodiversity

By K. Jeevan Chinnappa

MADIKERI, FEB. 26. The State Government is set to launch the Karnataka Sustainable Forest Management and Biodiversity Conservation Project with funding from the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) from April 1.

The project will be implemented for eight years with an outlay of Rs. 745 crores.

The objective of the project is to restore forests to bring about ecological improvement and protect the livelihood of the inhabitants of the villages in the project area by afforestation through community involvement.

Village communities will be involved in joint forest planning and management (JFPM). The project will be taken up in two stages.

The first stage, Project A, will cover 14 districts in the Western Ghats and adjoining areas. The second stage, Project B, will cover 13 districts in the eastern plains.

Main activities

The main activities under the project include afforestation, biodiversity conservation, participatory management, infrastructure support to field staff, soil and moisture conservation, farm forestry and human resource development, Ravindran, Conservator of Forests, Kodagu Circle, told The Hindu . Dr. Ravindran said 1,200 village forest committees (VFC's) will be established, in addition to the 73 eco-development committees (EDCs) in the protected areas identified in the project.

The project will be implemented on the basis of eight different models.

Model I emphasises ecological restoration through natural generation, model II covers assisted natural regeneration, model III is on plantations for timber production and model IV will lay stress on plantations for fuel wood and small timber production.

Model V focuses on non-timber forest produce (NTFP) while model VI harps on school forestry activities.

The restoration of mangroves is planned in model VII while farm forestry will feature in the model VIII.

Targets

All models have physical and financial targets. Demarcation and consolidation of forest areas, regeneration to increase forest cover, enhancement of biodiversity, improving site productivity and ecological restoration, soil and water conservation for better hydrological cycle, enhancing quality of water, employment generation and, more importantly, community participation are the essentials in all the eight models.

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