Shimla, April 2 (IANS) More than 1,800 sq km of forest area in Himachal is under a canopy of weed and lantana, a flowering exotic shrub, which is affecting the biodiversity of the state, Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri said Tuesday.
“As per the survey conducted by the forest department, 1,852.85 sq km forests are under cover of weeds,” he said in a written reply in the assembly.
The minister said lantana alone covered 1,562.85 sq km of the total affected area.
“To root out lantana, a cut-root stock method has been adopted. After clearing the weed, foliage fodder is being replanted.”
He said from 2009 to 2013 lantana was removed from 6,305 hectares of forest land in the state. “In 2013-14, the government aims to clear lantana from 5,000 hectares.”
According to a 2005 report published by the Forest Survey of India, the hill state has 14,752 sq km of forest area, 1,097 sq km of which is very densely forested.