Stalin instructs officials to increase forest cover

Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday instructed officials to ensure the forest cover in the state to be increased to 33 per cent.

“Afforestation drive should be intensified in the state and the forest cover should be increased to 33 per cent. Steps should also be taken to reduce man-animal conflict,” said the Chief Minister to the officials attached to Environment, Climate Change and Forests departments, at the review meeting held at Secretariat.

Tamil Nadu has a forest cover of 26,364 square km which constitutes 20.27 per cent of the total land area of the state. According to the latest data available with the state government, 83.02 square km of forest land has increased in the state in 2019 when compared to 2017 and though the forest land area is increasing, Chief Minister urged the officials to protect the biosphere reserves in the state.

“As far as protection of forests is concerned, protecting the biosphere reserves is the key. Tamil Nadu has three biosphere reserves such as Nilgiris biosphere reserve, Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve and Agasthiyamala biosphere reserve and they should be preserved to maintain forest wealth in the state,” said Stalin.

He also instructed the officials to protect the bird sanctuaries, tiger and animal sanctuaries from poaching and to improve the infrastructure in the sanctuaries.

Speaking about the impact of climate change in the state and the steps to be taken to reduce its impact, the Chief Minister asked the officials to engage public and youth in reducing pollution and improving the environment.