In an outset where deforestation in Sri Lanka is a grave environmental concern, restoration and re-planting of forests offer a major opportunity to off-set emissions and reduce the global issue of climate change by increasing the green cover.
In supporting the national policy of increasing the forest cover from 29% to 33%, PLC collaborated with the ForestsDepartment to spearhead a flagship re-forestation programme themed ‘THURU’ in Kanneliya, Udawatta and along Trincomalee - Habarana route. The re-forestation programmes at the afore said sites are spearheaded by the District Forest Offices and the PLC branches located in Galle, Kandy and Kantale.
The first re-forestation drive of this flagship programme commenced in Kanneliya on the 25th July 2015 in Kanneliya where 450 seedlings that are suitable for the local climatic conditions including Hora (Dipterocarpuszeylanicus), Halmilla (Berryacordifolia) , Beraliya (Shoreacordifolia), Goraka (Garciniacambogia) and Wewal (Calamuszeylanicus) planted to restore the forest cover in partnership with the District Forest Office - Galle.
“The area was congested with Havari Nuga (Alstoniascholaris) trees. It is an invasive plant that inhibits the natural forest cover. Generally, an invasive plant is not native to a specific location and has a tendency to spread and cause damage to the respective eco system. Alstonia plants were girdled to perish over time allowing the newly planted native plant species that belongs to the respective eco system thrive. We appreciate the enthusiasm shown by People’s Leasing in the sphere of environment conservation towards a cleaner and greener planet.” said Mohan Heenatigala, District Forest Officer, Galle.
“PLC has completed the first phase of the project planting 450 saplings. We have made arrangements to raise 1,000 saplings at the nursery of the Galle District Forest Office with the on-set of the rainfall in March. PLC has committed to ensure that saplings they planted are well established in the eco system,” said Nishantha Weerasinghe, Head of PLC Galle Branch.
The second re-forestation drive of this flagship programme, was spearheaded by PLC Kantale. Kantale branch of PLC in partnership with the District Forest Office, Polonnaruwa initiated seedling establishment in Forests Department nursery to be planted along Trincomalee - Habarana stretch of the road with the on - set of rain in November 2015. Planting programme was held on 24th November 2015 where 6,000 seedlings that are suitable for the local climatic conditions including Kohomba (Azadirachtaindica), Halmilla (Berryacordifolia), Mee (Madhucallongifolla) and Damba (Paretroplusdamil) planted near Galoya Junctionalong Trincomalee – Habarana Roadto restore the forest cover in partnership with the District Forest Office - Polonnaruwa.10,000saplingsare expected to be established along 5 km stretch and maintaining the ‘Green Belt’ until the seedlings are well established in the site.
“Since the percentage of the forest cover in Sri Lanka is gradually decreasing due to various reasons, reforestation programmes are been conducted across the country by Forest Department. But, unfortunately, numbers of annual restoration programmes are not enough to increase and maintain a proper percentage of the forest cover, specially in dry zone. As a responsible finance company, People’s Leasing & Finance PLC has initiated to maintain the ‘Green Belt’ along 5 km distance of Trincomalee-Habarana road side. We appreciate this green effort of PLC and their contribution towards cleaner and greener planet,” said H.G. Wasantha, District Forest Officer, Polonnaruwa.
The third re-plantation drive was spearheaded by PLC Kandy with the partnership of the District Forest Office, Kandy. The programme was held on 1st of December 2015 at Udawatta forest where 2,000 plants including Mee (Madhucallongifolla), Kubuk (Terminaliaarjuna), Gammalu (Pterocarpusmarsupium), Goraka (Garciniacambogia) and Kambaranka (Averrhoacarambola) were planted and another 1,000 seedlings are expected to be planted in 4 ha by uprooting the invasive plant Maana grass.
“Invasive species like Maana grass is a huge threat to the bio diversity of a natural forest cover. Therefore we have to clear all the Maana grass in the view point of Udawatta forest and establish a forest cover with native plants species respective to that eco system. It is highly appreciated that People’s Leasing & Finance PLC does a great job to support this forest restoration programme not only financially, but also through active participation.” said Ms. Satheema Aluwihare, District Forest Officer, Kandy.