Govt to increase forest density to 35%
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
The Government, yesterday (20), declared in Parliament that it aims to increase the forest density to 35 per cent, from its present 29 per cent.
Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, C.B. Ratnayake, responding to a question raised by Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Shantha Bandara, said forests contribute immensely for the protection of the ecosystem.
A programme is designed to reforest 65,400 hectares of land, to reach the target of 35 per cent of forest cover, Ratnayake said.
Bandara: “We know that the forest density is decreasing by the year. In many countries, they demand to create oxygen artificially. Since there are some major road development projects taking place, I would like to propose that the Wildlife and Forest Conservation Ministry, together with the Road Development Authority, organise a programme where trees could be planted by the side of all these newly-built roads. I think that it is a timely project.”
Ratnayake: “We have already commenced a similar project. We are working with the Samurdhi Authority and the Divisional Secretariats for that.”
Bandara also queried about the land ownership of certain sensitive areas, in relation to the land acquisition for the Central Expressway in the Kurunegala District. Ratnayake said the Ministry will look into the matter.