Prohibition on unauthorised felling of treess

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 June 2002, 09:29 GMT]
A notice prohibiting the unauthorized felling of trees in the north and east of Sri Lanka was issued by the Tamil Eelam Forest Conservation Unit of the Liberation Tigers on June 5, to coincide with World Environment Day (WED). Disciplinary action would be taken against violators, a notice published in the Vanni Wednesday said.

"Nature is the primary resource of a nation; indeed, nature is central to all living beings. It is therefore important to conserve and preserve it," the statement by the Conservation Unit said.

Fire-wood sellers. (TamilNet Library photo)
The statement condemned the continued destruction of trees despite the publicised importance of the adverse consequences of dwindling trees on the ecology.

"The Tamil Eelam Forest Conservation Unit recognized the immediate importance of preventing the continued destruction of trees, and has completely banned the unauthorized felling of trees in the Vanni region," it said.

"In addition, henceforth, the unauthorized felling of trees in all districts in the North-East is prohibited. We seek the cooperation and support of all people in the North-East, to implement this the ban and contribute to this national effort to conserve our resources," the Conservation Unit said.

"The unit continues its effort to preserve the trees, and salutes the people of the Vanni for their cooperation in this regard.

"The destruction of resources is tantamount to the destruction of life. We therefore request the cooperation of all people in preserving our natural resources. We warn that disciplinary action will be taken against those violating the ban."

Conservation efforts in the LTTE-controlled areas have been welcomed by the Tamil community. A US academic with expertise in Agricultural Engineering reported after several visits to the Vanni in 1996 that the LTTE's "green revolution" initiated in 1991 was increasingly successful.

Among the initiatives, people were encouraged to plant vegetable and fruit trees in their gardens, shady trees planted along roads, and palmyra, teak and casuarina planted along sandy coastlines.

The Sri Lankan armed forces have been accused of indiscriminately destroying forests in the north and east either in military operations, where the use of multi-baralleled rocket launchers decimated several forests, or cutting down trees to build bunkers and illegal logging activities.

Military officers have been accused of supplying the lucrative trade in palmyrah and coconut timber, valued across the island for making rafters. Large coconut plantations on the eastern coast of Jaffna, for example, have been completely destroyed by the SLA for coconut timber.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) held the main WED celebrations in the city of Shenzhen, China. The Sri Lanka government also marked the day with events organised by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

Thousands of coconut trees were destroyed by SLA's intense salvoes of Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRLs) in the Jafna peninsula. (Photo:TamilNet)

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