Forests ministers of the four southern states have decided to form a cell for better cooperation to protect and preserve the biodiversity of their rich forests.
"We have decided to form protocols for joint action raids and protection camps among the southern states," Karnataka Forest Minister C. Chennigapa told reporters here Saturday after the conclusion of a two-day conference of the forest ministers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and union territory of Pondicherry.
Each of the four states would set up a four-member task force of top forests officials who would interact regularly to see the smooth functioning of the interstate cell.
"We have also decided to write to the central government to see that a national conference of all states' forests ministers is convened. Moreover, we will also request the centre to allocate more funds for our departments," said Kerala Forest Minister Binoy Viswom.
Among the other areas where there would be cooperation between the forests departments of the four states and Pondicherry would be to conduct surveys to demarcate and erect boundary pillars in the forests on the interstate boundaries.
"This meeting has also decided to strengthen and improve the management of the eco-systems, to acquire the latest technologies relevant for our departments and also sharing of information to deal with wildlife offences," said Viswom.
It was also decided to hold annual meetings at the ministerial level.