In what may appear to be an alarming situation for the ecological balance of Goa, it has been found that although the state claims that over 35 percent of its land is under forest cover with nearly 1,225 square kilometers in forested area, there is not even one hectare of government forest in the three talukas of Bardez, Salcete and Mormugao.
The above situation has influenced the state forest department of Goa to employ ways and means to encourage a mass drive in afforestation by tree plantations in the talukas by involving panchayats, schools and non-government organisations. The response has however been very limited.
It has been reported that in Bardez taluka there is an estimated 1,777,79 hectares of private forested land in the taluka. the forest dept of Goa in the meanwhile is trying to encourage people to plant trees outside the forest areas which would not only provide the greenery but also be a source of future need for timber and firewood and the forest dept of Goa has therefore launched the mega tree plantation drive for the year 2008-09
However people in Goa seem to have a fancy for ornamental species or fruit bearing species of plants and hardly anyone was coming forward to avail the forest department scheme of providing seedlings of forest trees while there was demand for garden and horticultural species.
Another reason for the reluctance of people in Goa unwilling to plant trees is due to the fact that once the trees grow, the land is identified as forest area and is placed under the conservation list making it impossible for the owners to cut the trees from the conserved area or develop the land for personal use.
The forest department is willing to provide good seedlings of teak, matti, nano, sisso, kokum, tamarind,canes, bamboos etc during the oncoming monsoon season. While the efforts of the forest department in Goa may be modest, a beginning has certainly been made in the right direction and it surely depends on the people of Goa to take the drive forward and bring more land under tree cover for the future needs of Goa and Goans. this concept would help to protect the natural forests of Goa and help to make provision for the future needs of timber and firewood for the state