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Experts stress on need to conserve hill ranges


One-day workshop on “Consultative Workshop on Ecological Restoration of Koubru Hills” was held at IIIT-Manipur in Mantripukhri. The main aim of the workshop is for government officials, academicians, non-government organizations, people from several communities and media, to prepare a framework of an action plan for the ecological restoration of the hills

TFM Desk

Kangpokpi Forest Division of the Manipur Government on Saturday organised a one-day workshop on “Consultative Workshop on Ecological Restoration of Koubru Hills” in collaboration with Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, Manipur University at IIIT, Manipur, Mantripukhri. The main aim of the workshop is for government officials, academicians, non-government organizations, people from several communities and media, to prepare a framework of an action plan for the ecological restoration of the hill, said an official statement issued by N Ganesh, IFS, Divisional Forest Officer, Kangpokpi Forest Division

The Chief Guest of the function was L Joykumar Singh, Chief Conservator of Forest, T-I, Guest of Honour being RK Amarjit Singh, Conservator of Forest, and the functional President was N Ganesh , Divisional Forest Officer, Kangpokpi Forest Division. The function was also graced by MP Singh, retired Chief Conservator of Forest, Bonbirdhwaja, retired Conservator of Forest, who all spoke about the various significant aspects of Koubru hill range, notification of KKRF, need to conserve the hill ranges and the various laws and acts in place to protect it. They also shared their experiences with respect to the hill ranges while working under the Forest Department.

Besides, Prof Nabachandra Singh, CAU, Imphal gave a presentation on introduction of pineapple-based agroforestry models at Koubru, and Dr Gopal Singh, HOPARD on the importance of people’s participation and community engagement for sustainable forest management. Prof RK Dilip, CAU, talked on impact of fruit crops on degraded land /reclaimed land  and how the benefits are manifold both for the forest and the economy of the growers. Prof. RK Chingkhei , MU ,spoke on the changes of land use at the hill range by comparing data from earlier satellite imagery  with current ones and how the environmental destructive changes are too drastic to be ignored.

The function was also attended by Prof Lal Bihari Singh, MU speaking on the scope of strengthening landscape and site quality through Bamboo plantation. Dr Birkumar Singh, CSIR, stressed on the term “Restoration” and the need to collect data from 50-100 years ago to better understand how the hill range needed to be “restored” again.

Dignitaries from fields besides academic and government were also invited. Shri Salam Rajesh, writer and an Environmentalist spoke on the need for community participation for success of the eco-restorative efforts Pradip Panthoujam, editor and founder Imphal Free Press emphasized on the need to have a two-pronged approach with community-based habitat restoration and targeting to achieve a state of pristine forest. Tongmang Haokip, retired IRS, Advisor, SAHILCA also attended the function speaking on having a dialogue with the Forest Department to clear up various misconceptions the public have about Forest Department for a productive and successful cooperative outcome between the department and public.

Around 110 people including staff of Forest Department, students of Manipur University, CSOs, VAs and media attended the function. Certificate of participation also will be distributed to the participants.

Conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of forest cover in the State has been a matter of great priority for the Manipur Forest Department. This is more so in notified forest areas which are rich in biodiversity supporting varied flora and fauna. One such notified forest is the Kanglatongbi Kangpokpi Reserved Forest in which Koubru Hill Range is located. The Reserved Forest was notified vide order No. 55/10/68-M of the office of the Secretariat-Forest Branch dated Imphal, 3rd July, 1968 whereby the Reserved Forest (RF) is under the protection of the Government and all activities carried out within its boundary is governed by the rules & regulations under the Act.

Besides the usual duty of patrolling and plantation work being carried out by the Division under various schemes of the Forest Department, Kangpokpi Forest Division has been taking up a number of restorative steps in efforts to bring back Koubru Hill range to its former glory. Keeping in mind the approach of fire season, the Divisional Forest Officer, Kangpokpi Forest Division vide Notification Order No. TEC-FD/3/2022-e-FOR dated 26th January, 2023 banned all forms of unauthorised trekking and trekking related activities inside notified forest areas. Trekking may be carried out only after due permission from the Office of the Divisional Forest Officer, Kangpokpi Forest Division is obtained. The Division also has established permanent Koubru Camps since the Notification was issued who are dedicatedly working by patrolling, cutting fire lines, plantation and forestry works and checking of permits for trekking etc.

Free saplings are also stationed at the entry points of Koubru Hills which are provided to trekkers to be carried up the hill and be planted at designated barren spots, thus involving the public in eco-restoration efforts. A selfie photo booth is also erected whereby trekkers with saplings may take pictures to be shared on social media to generate awareness about Koubru efforts. Till date around 850 no. of saplings have been distributed.

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