Correct way of tree planting afforestation
Biodiversity Forestry Op-ed

Tree Plantation – Are we on a right track?

“Are we on the right direction pertaining to the the strategy that is being currently employed by us for greening our planet by planting tree saplings????” popped into my mind.

Considering the Laws of Nature, a forest, to take shape on its own, hangs on to a slew of establishments scientifically denoted by the term “Succession”, that which involves evolution from a barren land to a grass land (termed the pioneering species) next to a shrub land and then over time on to a forest land the climax. Above all these factors, establishments occurs successfully only with water as the cornerstone and other factors being secondary. The availability of water determines the progress as well as the potency of the forest to be fostered.

 

Correct way of tree planting afforestation
Millions of saplings planted are facing threats of being put on to the wrong place against its nature.

Coming back to our present day scenario referring to greening of the planets underpinning climate change mitigation and several other challenges that our earth is facing, millions of saplings all around the world grown for greening our mother earth are facing threats of being put on to the wrong  place against its nature. Not only this, the greatest peril lies in the expansion of an unstable forest ecosystem that tends more likely not to fulfill many of the roles played by a natural forest in course of time. To be more clear, the forest raised by  planting a tree seedling directly on to a new environment is similar to that a chicken being injected with Colistin popularly called the ‘The last hope’ drug, the ill effects of consuming such chicken being known by all of us where we still drool on grills.

The open evidence of this unseen danger of planting saplings unscrupulously are, Firstly this, of which most of us are all well acquainted with, Prosopis juliflora (Seemai Karuvel) and Eucalyptus sp  whose rampant growth now being the biggest challenge to our forest departments on its removal causing a havoc to the people, our environment and to the natural flora and fauna of that area by altering the very essence of the original site as depletion of ground water and a being a big competition to the other native species. This in turn also leads to loss of wild flora and fauna. The other menaces of the naturalized forests lies in those who tend to promote afforestation by planting saplings that do not match the environment ultimately leading to a complete loss of resources from all aspects.

Yes now the question arises as what can be done to promote forest, as they are the lifeline of all living beings on this earth and to check the so long done uncontrolled deforestation and the need for forest products, calls for effective mitigation strategies. As I have already stated water stands as an important factor together with all other factors  for a forest to evolve with its own identity of the natural factors available around it. So in a site or  in and around a forest fringe or even on other places where forests have to be developed an effective water management shall be the best option which in the course of time would promote to the advancement of a stable forest ecosystem and this shall not lead to the  depletion of water which shall have otherwise been used in irrigating the saplings artificially being raised on a new environment.

Apart from this in some sites with available water planting seems to help, then the choosing of saplings suited to the environment must be done cautiously and to achieve this easy of a way is to raise the saplings that are locally present (of indigenous species) and this can be simply attained by locating out the oldest tree of the region as that species are more likely to represent the locality’s nature. Planting has to be done thus raising the saplings from the seeds of those local tree species rather than the highly valued economically important new species (of exotic species) where conservation and establishment of a stable environment could be possible.

The author, Brindha is a forestry graduate bewitched by forebearers art of living in unison with nature. Scouring hard to reclaim its lost gloss. Brace her she is waiting for you at brins341@gmail.com

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