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* Sri Lanka Forest Department to increase country's forest cover
Sun, Jun 12, 2011, 07:24 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka Forest Department is to initiate several programmes to increase the country's forest cover following the completion of a survey conducted last year to determine the current forest cover.

The Forest Department statistics have shown that from the beginning of the last century Sri Lanka's land areas of natural forest cover has declined about 48 percent by 2007. The Department is to release latest survey results shortly.

The main programme initiated by the Forest Department to increase the country's forest cover is the reforestation of the hills where the forest has been utilized for vegetable, especially potato farming.

The replanting of the hills is to commence in October during the rainy season and the Department has reportedly identified the sites for the programme following an initial study.

Under the Forest Department's "Hela Thuru Viyana" Programme, the agency expects to conserve indigenous plant species facing extinction and gradually convert free plantations made out of exotic species such as Acasia and Pinus into natural ecosystems.

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