HC on protective measures for Shola forests

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today said government should ensure that any exotic variety of trees or plants that endangered the local 'shola forests' in Kodaikanal hills were systematically removed to protect the forests.

Madurai: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today said government should ensure that any exotic variety of trees or plants that endangered the local 'shola forests' in Kodaikanal hills were systematically removed to protect the forests.

A division bench of Justice R.Sudhakar and Justice V. M. Velumani, which was hearing a petition filed by one Saravanan, to protect the Shola forests, said the forest department should make a proposal to the Environment Ministry for removal of exotic species and on such approval, it should be placed before the Supreme Court for clearance.

The court recorded the various measures to protect the habitat and directed the officials to give a status report on the implementation of such measures on October 12.

The court was only facilitating the concept of restoration of shola forests, forests and grasslands.

The judges clarified that there was no direction as such to cut or remove the exotic species, wattle, eucalyptus and others and said they had only suggested that a comprehensive scheme had to be prepared in consonance with the wild life protection act.

Taking into consideration that wattle and eucalyptus were commercially exploited for state revenue, the dichotomy between the state revenue and preservation of ecology had to be addressed, the court said.

The government should, however, formulate a policy and implement the scheme to protect the indigenous trees and plants.

The judges felt it would be useful to have a detailed inventory of such invasive species in different eco-systems of Tamil Nadu and the entire country. Appropriate steps would have to be taken for the control and eradication and management of native species.  

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