Sri Lanka to acquire land to expand forest cover

ECONOMYNEXT –Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers has decided to acquire unused lands that cannot be used for commercial crop cultivation under an initiative to expand the island’s forest cover.

The government aims to increase forest cover, now 29.7 percent of total land area, to 32 percent by 2030, the state information office said in a statement.

Another 148,000 hectares of lands are needed for the re-forestry project.

However, as state lands are not enough to meet the government target, the government is considering acquiring state and private lands that cannot be used for commercial crop cultivation, the statement said.

The Cabinet of ministers this week approved a proposal by President Maithripala Sirisena as Minister of Mahaweli Development & Environment to acquired land for the accelerated forestry project.

These include uncultivated lands coming under the Land Reform Commission and lands that already have 65 percent forest cover as well as Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation lands now used for mixed crops with the forest department.
(COLOMBO, 19 June 18, 2019)