Kochi: The Kerala High Court has restrained the State government and the Forest Department from cutting any mature tree from the vested forest or other forests for three weeks.
The interim directive was passed on a writ petition filed by K.T. Santhosh of Alappuzha. According to him, the Forest Department had taken over large tracts of rubber plantations under the Kerala Private Forest Vesting and Management of Ecologically Fragile Land Act.
The department had also issued a notification for cutting and removing rubber trees in the rubber plantations taken over by the department.
As per the rules, only windfall and decayed trees could be cut and removed from the forest area.
However, the department was trying to cut and sell the rubber trees at a meagre price. According to a study by the Rubber Research Institute, the rubber trees, belonging to the rain tree category, were more effective in absorbing carbon dioxide.