Tree Plantation by
- Breathing new life into
Jeslin Jacob firstname.lastname@example.org
importance of trees in purifying the air, as natural resources,
maintaining the ecological balance, preventing soil erosion, as
medicines, habitats for faunal species, providing nutrients to the soil
etc. is well known. The present forest and tree cover in the country
according to the State of Forest Report 2001 of the Forest Survey of
India is 23.03 per cent. According to the National Forest Policy, the
country is required to achieve a forest cover target of 25 per cent by
2007 and 33 per cent cover by 2012. Again, against the National Forest
Policy requirement of 33 per cent forest cover in every State, Delhi’s
figure is 10.2 per cent.The involvement of people - particularly at the
grassroots level - and agencies outside the Government is crucial for
achieving these targets. Development Alternatives through its
CLEAN-India programme has long been involved in plantation activities
across the country.
Unit of CLEAN-India Programme organised a Tree plantation drive in Delhi
in August-October 2004. The drive was conducted in collaboration with
the Dept. of Environment, Government of NCT Delhi and agencies like the
Forest Deptt., NDMC, MCD & CPWD. About 300 students from CLEAN-Delhi
partner schools participated in the drive that saw the plantation of
over 1500 trees in various localities of Delhi.
"The trees come up to my window like the yearning
voice of the dumb earth"
special care was taken to choose saplings from among the native species
like Kachnar, Kanak Champa, Neem, Arjun, Sheesham, Bel, and Peepal. The
air, water, soil and climate of the Delhi region are most suitable for
the growth of these native species, and hence their survival rate is
quite high. In turn, these support the birds, insects and animals of
this ecosystem. These species also are most effective in fighting air
and noise pollution.
of the drive was the tree plantation at Garhi Mandu on the banks of
River Yamuna where over 700 trees were planted. Children showed great
enthusiasm in planting these trees which they knew would recharge ground
water, prevent soil erosion and prevent siltation of their river. Metal
plates with their names written on them were placed under the first
sapling planted by each of them. A massive tree plantation drive was
also carried out at Asola and Bhatti. In spite of the rocky terrain and
hardened soil, children planted hundreds of trees. Forest officials and
the Eco task force personnel briefed them about the development of Asola
as a wild life sanctuary and reclamation and greening of Bhatti mines.
Saving the Yamuna Bank
Prior to each
plantation activity, students were briefed about the significance of
native trees, how to plant them and their after care. Resource material
for the programme was developed in form of brochures giving information
about native trees. The brochure, ‘Trees of Delhi’ highlighted
the identifying features and uses of native trees with the help of
illustrations. At the end of the activity, each student was presented a
memento in form of a leaf shaped book-mark, which would act as a
reminder of the ennobling task he/she had performed. The students were
asked to conduct follow-up activities to see how the saplings they had
planted were doing and also submit a report on the activity after a
period of three months. All the findings by the students were documented
and sent to the Department of Environment in the form of a report.
however learnt from student observations that in spite of the plantation
being done in the monsoon season, most of the roadside saplings could
not last for even a month. This was largely due to the absence of prompt
installation of tree guards and proper watering. Saplings inside parks
and institutional areas however were found to be doing well.
planting of trees will not help. Proper care has to be taken of the
saplings planted. Following points should be noted while doing tree
plantations, anywhere in the country.
As far as possible,
native trees should be planted. Trees like Eucalyptus, Australian
Acacia, Lantana, Lucena, Mast tree (False Ashoka) should be avoided.
Tree guards should be
provided for roadside plantations.
Saplings should be
watered regularly during times of a dry spell.
Well-drained deep sandy
loams are best suited for plant growth.
Soil or plantation area
should be free of construction waste, debris etc.
Compost manure should be
applied during plantation and during the initial growth phase of the
plants. Fertilizers should not be added.
Schools and colleges
should adopt "one child one plant" scheme, where the responsibility
of growing the plant lies with the student. This will be a learning
experience for the student as well.
plantation drive by CLEAN-Delhi was thus a perfect example of how
grass-root level NGOs, school students and the various government line
departments can work in tandem towards a cleaner, greener city. It is
hoped that in the coming years, the children not just plant more and
more trees but also take care of them, watch them grow and be able bask
in their glorious beauty.
Limit your need, minimize your greed; sow a seed, let the earth breathe"
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