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“Chir pine needles, which are highly inflammable due to its high resin content, are a prominent factor in occurring and spreading of forest fires.

NEW DELHI: With nearly 55 per cent rise in forest fire spots in 2016 from last year, a parliamentary panel has recommended systematic replacement of chir pine trees in forests with broad-leaved trees, observing that its needles are highly inflammable due to high resin content.

The panel also flayed the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change over the declining trend of funds released by the government for protection of forests and controlling forest fires.
“The Committee also recommends that broad tree leaves should be planted in forests, and after a period of five years, there should be a systematic replacement of chir pine trees in forests by broad leaves as it has been seen that the incident of fires in latter forest are minimal as compared to chir pine trees,” the Committee said in its report.

he Committee also suggested procuring sweeping machines to clear roadsides of chir pine needles and dry leaves in vulnerable areas and said steps should be taken to incentivise the clearing and collection of pine needles.

The Committee also observed that there seems to be “huge disconnect” between the research done by Forest Research Institute, a body under the MoEF&CC and its usage by state forest departments and other agencies.

It also recommended that the government should approach countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which witness a large number of forest fire cases, and the study the use of other systems used for fire fighting such as chemical fogging.

Fires destroyed nearly 4000 hectares of forest covering over 13 districts in the hill state

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By udaen

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