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Conservator General of Forests refutes reports on SL forest cover

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The Conservator General of Forests Mr. K.M.A Bandara said that the media reports implying that Sri Lanka’s forest cover has decreased to 16% are false.

The President’s Media Division says that Mr. Bandara has said this in response to a query made over the media reports on the instructions of President’s Secretary Mr. Saman Ekanayake and that the Presidential Secretariat had focused its attention regarding these media reports.

The PMD statement issued in this regard further says :

The assessment of forest cover is carried out every five years and the census conducted in 2020 is scheduled to be completed in June this year. According to the census conducted in 2015, the natural forests of Sri Lanka stood at 29.15% (1,912,970 hectares) of the total land extent.

The Conservator General of Forests also said that although there has been some reduction in the amount of forests due to various development activities and other human activities in the country, there has definitely been no decrease in the amount of forests up to 16%  as stated in the media reports.

 According to media reports, if the forest area in Sri Lanka is 16% of the total land extent, then the existing forest area in the country should be 1,040,000 hectares. This means that 872,970 hectares of forests should have been destroyed during the seven years from 2015, which is 124,710 hectares per year and  341 hectares of forest destruction per day.

He also said that the method used to assess the forests should have been described in the presentation of data on forests. Basic points such as the definition of forests, the method of estimating forest size, and the estimation of forest size should have been mentioned in the report. However, there is no source from which the relevant data was obtained in the media reports suggesting that the forest cover had decreased.

The Conservator General further stated that if there is widespread forest destruction, as reported in the media, it should have been observed by the Department of Forest, the Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Sri Lanka Police, and the Sri Lanka Air Force, which monitors forests from the air. However, such extensive forest destruction has not been reported to any of these institutions. He also stated that the Forest Department is updating forest maps and that no such forest destruction was observed during those activities.

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278 prison inmates to be pardoned

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A total of 278 inmates at prisons across the island will be released tomorrow in view of Vesak festival, the Prisons Department said.

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Parliament suspended due to lack of quorum

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Parliament sessions were abruptly suspended until June 04 due to a lack of quorum. 

There were less than 20 member present during the time of suspension. 

MP Jagath Samarawickrama was at the Chair.

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Notice for students sitting for Grade 5 scholarships

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The Department of Examinations has announced that the 2024 Grade Five Scholarship Examination will be held on September 15 this year.

It adds that applications for the examination will be accepted online from May 27 – June 14, 2024 and acceptance of applications will not be extended beyond the announced period.

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