Thursday, September 23

‘Plant various trees to boost bio-diversity’

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Botanists and green activists have questioned the wisdom of KMC to plant 20,000 deodar trees and called for diversity in species, pointing to Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation that has drawn up plans for 25 varieties for Salt Lake, Rajarhat and other areas with help from state Pollution Control Board. The civic body plans to launch a plantation drive to compensate for the destruction of the city’s green cover during Amphan a month ago.

Environmentalist Bonani Kakkar on May 28 wrote to Debasish Kumar, member of the board of administrator at KMC and former MMiC (parks and squares), saying fresh plantation drives should be carried out after systematic micro-planning to prevent a repeat of past mistakes. “The species of trees need to be decided according to the purpose for which the plantation is taking place and the location. For instance, there can be a requirement for shade in a residential neighbourhood, reduction in pollution on main roads, adding to bio-diversity across the city and adding to aesthetics, like on medians. The space available in each location and ground area availability has to be checked before a tree is planted. Also important are factors, like area required for the crownto spread, encroachment on pedestrian right of way, space between trees and survival likelihood against climate events,” she said, adding the need to plant local species, such as bakul, jarul, kanchan, putranjivi, neem, karanj, kadam, chhatim and Indian almond.

An urban forestry division expert said any plantation drive of the KMC’s scale required a lot of planning, on the types of species and to see if trees were suitable for establishments alongside. “Trees are cut down for obstructing shop hoardings. Instead, why not look at trees that are suitable to be planted there?” he said.

Another forest official called for diversity in plant species to ensure biodiversity. “Along a certain stretches, one may have a particular species for uniformity. But 20,000 is a large number. Selecting multiple species would have been a wiser choice,” he said, adding weeping deodarcould be planted but they need to be sourced from quality seedling.

The KMC parks department said in addition to 20,000 deodar, it would plant 10,000 neem trees. The civic body also hopes to plant bakul, jarul and kadam trees, along major roads. “We will plant 20,000 deaodar on narrow pavements as these need less space to grow. Those saplings will be planted under a drive, Kalpabrishkha, in association with Credai. The state forest department will provide 10,000 neem trees,” a civic official said. But the KMC needs nod and saplings from the forest department for plantation of a variety of species in three months.

Source:Times of India

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