CHENNAI: In a bid to reduce the human-animal conflict and to prevent herbivores like wild elephants and Indian Guar reaching the human settlements, Tamil Nadu forest department has drawn an ambitious plan to grow palatable grass in forest areas in 22 districts of the state.
Sources in the Tamil Nadu forest department told IANS that a team of researchers from the Forest College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam, is providing training to around 200 forest staff on how to grow palatable grass between woods in forest lands.
K. Baranidharan, head of the Forest College and Research Institute, will lead the team of researchers to impart training to forest staff including rangers, foresters and guards of the Tamil Nadu forest department.
Baranidharan while speaking to media persons in Coimbatore said that the team has identified 10 species of grass that could be grown and amenable to herbivores like Indian Guar and Asian elephants.
The 10 species of grass identified by the Forest Research institute was seen commonly growing in forest areas at a height of 500 m from the sea level. However, due to unregulated cattle grazing and presence of invasive species, the grass did not grow.
Forest department officials told IANS that the lack of palatable grass has led to the herbivores like Asian elephants and Indian Guar reaching the human settlements resulting in clashes and conflict with human beings.
With the growth of palatable grass in the forest areas, it could reduce the presence of such animals in human settlements and confine the grass-eating herbivores to the forest land itself. This will also increase the prey base for the carnivores also thus maintaining an effective balance. (IANS)