More forest cover

Published: Monday 31 August 1998

Farmers in Haryana have found a novel way to prevent rapid decline of natural forests in India. This method would also help support nearly 500 wood-based industries. They have demonstrated commercial viability of the poplar tree (Poplus). This tree can reduce pressure on natural forests that are declining annually at a rate of over 15 per cent. After a severe drought in Haryana during 1987-98, farmers uprooted exces-sively water-drawing eucalyptus plantations and used poplar in the mixed farming system. The tree not only acts as a shelter belt and wind break but also conserves soil and water, control soil erosion and increase water intake capacity of the soil, unlike eucalyptus. In India, poplar is being planted in the northern plains of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, besides Jammu and Kashmir, North Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh.

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