Srinagar, May 28: Jammu and Kashmir government has notified about 16000 square km area under the Protected Area Network (PAN), Minister for Forests and Environment Qazi Mohammad Afzal said.
He said the PAN comprised five National Parks, 14 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 35 Conservation Reserves.
Mr Afzal said, ''eco-tourism as a tool, could be used to preserve natural heritage including wild flora and fauna with an added advantage of boosting the economy of our state.'' It could provide economic justification for preserving rather than destroying nature's bounty, he added.
With a view to have a proper management plan for eco-tourism, jungle lodges and resorts, an organisation, undertaken by the government of Karnataka, has been assigned the consultancy services for survey and preparation of eco-tourism plan for the state.
He said the organisation has already visited the National Parks, Sanctuaries and Wetlands of Kashmir Valley and Jammu region and submitted the interim report.
Mr Afzal further said people from all over the world are becoming more and more inclined to visit areas of wilderness in their quest to come close to nature and enjoy the tranquility and serenity of nature.