Attempt for rejuvenation of forest destroyed in fire in Bandipur hills

Attempt for rejuvenation of forest destroyed in fire in Bandipur hills

Agency News

Chamarajanagara, May 12: In order to bring back the greenery that was lost due to wildfire the forest department is gearing up to rejuvenate forest lands in Bandipur National Park and MM Hill areas in the district, which was ravaged during last month’s forest fires.

The focus is around Gopalswamy Betta range where the vegetation cover was reduced to cinders.

Around 400 acres has already been brought under sowing of local species including bamboo, hebbevu, antwal and nelli.

The Conservator of Forests and Director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, T Balachandra, said about 3.5 tonnes of seeds has been procured for the sowing operations. ''The exercise is on since the last 15 days and we intend to stop the sowing for now as there is a lull in the rainfall.''

Bandipur and surrounding forests receives intermittent rains during the South-West Monsoon and given its geographical location, it benefits more from the North-East Monsoon.

'' Hence we have decided to end the first phase and will take up the second phase of sowing during September,'' said Mr Balachandra.

The authorities have covered around 400 acres of forest land in the first phase and plan to bring another 500 to 800 acres of land for rejuvenation in the second phase.

Meanwhile, forest areas in M M hills will come under Assisted Natural Regeneration process to increase the green cover and fodder availability for wildlife.

The Forest Department has conceived the programme ahead of the South-West Monsoon and the planting exercise will commence after the forest region receives a few more spells of rain so that the soil has adequate moisture.

Deputy Conservator of Forests for M M hills V Yedukondalu told that local species including kamara and bamboo will be given priority and no exotic or alien species will be introduced. According to Mr Yedukondalu, about 10 tonnes of seeds will be procured, for the exercise, from Mysuru and other places. The Forest Department has a research wing which will identify the quality seeds and has shared the details of the species that are best suited for a specific forest type.

Though the bulk of M M hills has adequate green cover, there are swathes where the vegetation cover is negligible and these areas will come under the Assisted Natural Regeneration process.

Bamboo will be planted along the streams and river beds as well and once they mature, it will increase the fodder availability in the landscape and help elephants in the region, Mr Yedukondalu said.

''The last few days saw a few light drizzles and we are waiting for a few heavy spell of showers before taking up the work'', he added.

The exercise is expected to commence by the end of this month or early June. The light spell of rain has also helped in fresh sprouting of bamboo shoots in various parts of M.M.Hills and is a sign of regeneration process that is underway and ANR will further help the process.