A drive to restore the Lutumari Reserve Forest has been launched by more than 200 woodcutters in Kampur in Nagaon district. The forest cover presently stands at 1250 hectares, which was initially 2226 hectares. The rapid encroachment and deforestation by people surrounding the forest led to the reduction of the forest cover.
To begin with, the woodcutters have planted 65,000 plants in 29 hectares of the reserve forest area in just two months and have pledged to revive the forest cover for the greater interest of ecological balance.
Abdul Jabbar, an encroacher, said that in the past 30 years, about 300 families have settled in the forest area, constructed houses and turned a vast area of the forest into paddy field. They realized their mistake when the forest department discussed the issue with them, and they all agreed to join hands to restore the green cover.
Nagaon divisional forest officer, Subhasis Das, said that it is interesting the woodcutters who were formerly cutting down the trees have started replanting, after understanding the importance of reforestation.
The 32 species planted in the Lutumari Reserve Forest are primarily indigenous fruit-bearing trees. Only a few species having timber value have been planted in the upper parts of the hills.