Telangana will take up reforestation of forest lands allotted to tribes under a special legislation, as part of efforts to improve the green cover.
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Tuesday approved a proposal for collaborative research on reforestation of ROFR (Recognition of Forest Rights) lands.
The government, through the forest department, will promote planting of trees by the individuals and communities in these lands as most of these lands are not having irrigation facilities and are poor in fertility and productivity.
"This is with a view to bring these lands under tree cover and as part of the Haritha Haram project to increase the tree cover in the state from 24 percent to 33 percent," said a statement from the chief minister's office.
An area spread over 40 hectares will be set apart at Mulugu forest in Medak district for the collaborative research between the forest and horticulture departments.
Forest rights over 3.41 lakh hectares of forest land were recognized in favour of about one lakh people and 744 communities in the state since 2008 under Scheduled Tribes and other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
The forest department with collaboration from horticulture university take up experiments with different types of horticulture, silviculture and agriculture species so as to improve the economic status of the individuals and communities and also to maximize and harness the productivity of these lands.
Earlier, a study funded by ISRO's 'National Carbon Project,' done by Hyderabad based National Remote Sensing Centre which had come out with some troubling figures which claimed that the state had lost more than half of its forest cover in the past seven decades.
From 40,746 sq km of forests in 1930, the number had come down to a mere 17,520 sq km in 2013. Deforestation alone has resulted in 23.7% of the forest cover completely disappearing, while another 18.5% of the forests were critically endangered, the study said.