As part of climate change mitigation project and Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Greening Project, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be funding 61 Tamil Nadu Biodiversity greening projects (TBGPs), reliable sources in the Forest Department said.
All conservation projects and tree sapling projects will start by October when the monsoon sets in so that the mortality rate of the saplings planted under various schemes is reduced. At the same time, the state had also envisaged a policy to promote tree cultivation on private lands.
The Forest Department had also identified Jawadhu Hills, Shervaroyan Hills, Kolli Hills, Pachamalai Hills and Chitheri Hills to grow traditional sandalwood trees. The scheme of raising sandal plantations in reserve forests has already started and will continue till 2025. The 10-year ongoing project will be funded through a corpus of Rs 100 crore, Forest Department sources said.
JICA has chosen TN as one of the preferred states in the country to continue conservation programmes and under the first phase of TBGP, JICA has spent around Rs 500 crore from 2011 to 2019, informed official sources said. The state will also continue the ongoing schemes of raising teak plantations, over an area of 6,000 hectares and this project has already commenced. An extent of 4,745 ha (9,49,000 seedlings) has been planted till 2020- 2021 at a total cost of Rs 24.05 crore, an official pointed out.
“One of the long pending demands of the conservationists is to weed out invasive species like wattle, lantana camara and prosopis julifora and there is a need for massive funding for this project,” observed wildlife enthusiast N Balaji, who regularly participates in the annual wildlife census.