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Plan to raise trees on private lands

P. Oppili

"State requires 30 crore trees to meet its ecological needs"

CHENNAI: The State Forest Department is drawing up a mega programme to raise trees on private lands across the State.

The main objective is to increase tree-based resources on private lands, to meet the increasing ecological demands of the State, said a senior officer. The State required at least 30 crore trees to meet its ecological needs.

Three types of lands have been identified for implementing the programme, which include farm, community and homestead lands, the official said. Raising saplings on these lands could serve a dual purpose — ecological benefit for society and economic benefit to those involved in the programme.

Benefits

Explaining the ecological benefits, a forest official said trees provided shade and helped in reducing temperature during summer. Similarly, the trees will absorb hazardous emissions from vehicles and release more oxygen into the atmosphere. Apart from this, trees also provide shelter for a variety of birds and smaller life forms.

Talking about the economical benefits, the official said when a sapling is raised with proper care and adequate protection, the growth would be faster. So the fruit, the bark, the wood and other materials from the tree could be useful to those that participate in the programme.

Another officer pointed out that in any country or society, there had to be a clear balance between development and conservation. Growth could not be sustained unless there was some emphasis on protecting soil, water, flora and fauna, he said.

The official also opined that the State Government should raise the required number of saplings, which should then be sold to interested individuals, societies and farmers at subsidised rates.

The Government should make the sapling planting in private lands as a priority, which would help the development process on a sustained basis.

The Forest Department is in the process of identifying the number of saplings required for each district to implement the programme, the authorities said.

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