smugglers have now become active in the buffer zone of the Silent Valley too. More than six hectares of Kakkivani Malavaram evergreen virgin forests connecting Silent Valley with the Muthikulam Reserve Forest coming under the Nilgiri Biosphere was denuded by the mafia. Most importantly, the area where this destruction took place is a 'landslip prone area.'
Recently, a Kerala Forest Research Institute, report on the area had highlighted that "the present stocking of the trees is essential for the stability of the soil and prevention of landslips. Severe land erosion and degradation can occur in this part of the forest.''
It is alleged that the recent looting case in the buffer zone was carried out with the connivance of top forest officials. Despite a High Court order against cutting of any trees and any non-forest activities in this part of the forest, issued on November 25, 2000, the precious forest tract was cut down to encash its natural wealth.
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