The Punjab government has chalked out a plan to eradicate the lantana camara, a noxious weed, which is a major threat to the forest cover in the state.
Talking about the plan, minister for forests and wildlife preservation Chunni Lal Bhagat said the state government had started project use of mycoherbicide for the management of the weed at a cost of Rs. 60 lakh with Thapar University, Patiala.
The project would be completed in three years under the supervision of associate professor Dr Sanjana Sexena.
In Punjab, lantana is threatening the Shivalik forest range, thereby causing the destruction of forest cover.
The minister said the Shivalik forests in the districts of Ropar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiar pur had been specifically affected due to lantana camara. The Siswan-Dulwan area in Ropar, spread over 2,044 hectares in the Shivaliks, is a high biodiversity area and the major problem is proliferation of various species of lantana. In Gurdaspur district, 34.9% loss in the forest cover has been attributed to lantana invasion.
According to a survey, forest area of more than 500 sq km have been lost in Punjab due to lantana camara.