Farmers in Dakshina Kannada, especially on the foothills of the Western Ghats, have been constantly facing a threat from wild animals, including monkeys and boards, to their crops. The monkeys and wild boars targeted particularly arecanut, coconut, banana, cocoa and vegetable crops.
One of the reasons attributed for their increasing attacks on farm land is the destruction of fruit-bearing trees in the forests by the timber mafia and others. Unable to find food, they attacked the nearby farms.
Keeping the long-term measures in mind to minimise their attacks on crops and to strengthen the rain forests, activists of Mangaluru based National Environment Care Foundation (NECF) have now begun planting fruit-bearing saplings in the reserve forests on the foothills of the Western Ghats.
The initiative will also create a win-win situation for both wildlife and farmers. They began the drive two weeks ago by planting 318 such saplings in the jurisdiction of Nada in Belthangady under Kudremukh National Park. During the second such drive on Sunday, they planted 600 saplings in the reserve forest areas of Ichlampady and Mardala areas in Puttur and Sullia taluks.
According to Shashidhar Shetty, convener, NECF, 170 activists, including college students, participated in the drive on Sunday.
The NECF purchased the saplings from the Forest Department and planted them.
All the fruit-bearing saplings are local ones such as jackfruit, mango, wild jack, tamarind, water apple, butter fruit and jamoon.
The job of the activists is, however, not just over.
Mr. Shetty said that the NECF has asked forest guards to send the images of saplings planted through WhatsApp on a monthly basis to monitor their status. The activists would again visit the planted areas in November-December for protection measures. Again, another trip would be made in February to build fire lines around them to prevent them from forest fire, he said.
The NECF, along with Karnire Foundation, would plant 2,000 such saplings near Moodbidri on Monday, Mr. Shetty told The Hindu.
Alva’s College has come forward to plant 300 such saplings in the reserve forest areas of Uppinangady on July 29. Students of Bhandarkar’s College in Kundapur have also shown interest now to take it forward, he said.