The Goa government will launch a drive to phase out a particular variety of plants from forest areas in the state which it believes is one of the reasons for human-animal conflicts, a senior officer has said. The Australian Acacia plants will be phased out from forest areas and replaced with local variety of trees in five years.
Forest Minister Vijai Sardesai had recently said that Australian Acacia plants were one of the reasons for human-animal conflicts in Goa. Deputy Conservator of Forest (Planning and Statistics) A Jabestin told reporters Tuesday that the Australian Acacia trees do not contribute for food in the forest, forcing animals to travel towards human habitations in search of food.
Jabestin said the trees were planted by forest department in the 80s and 90s as a part of afforestation. "There is also a direction from the court that monoculture and exotic species of trees should not be planted in forest areas," he said.
Jabestin further said his department will draft a plan for each protected area by conducting indigenous value index survey to assess soil condition and the native species, and accordingly replace acacia plantation with the "native mixed and fruit-bearing" species of trees. "The focus would be on a native variety of fruit-bearing trees so that the animals can get their food within the forest and they don't have to travel out of it. We need to provide required habitation to animals in wild to stop them from entering villages, fields and other areas," he said.
In the past, instances of wild animals destroying crops of farmers had come to fore. Farmers have been demanding that some species like monkeys, peacocks and wild boar be declared vermin so that they can be killed.
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