Karthikeyan’s pocket book Discover Avenue Trees is a handy guide for anyone who likes to know about the trees they encounter in the city

You’ve probably seen the Copper Pod tree, the Sausage tree, or the Indian Cork tree in the city but probably didn’t know what it was called, or will only recognise it if someone puts together a name and picture to it.

Familiarising people with the many avenue trees that dot Bangalore and other metros too, is naturalist Karthikeyan S.’s book Discover Avenue Trees.

“We don’t give attention to plants, which are a source of life around us,” says Karthik, talking of one of the reasons for bringing out the book. He had been writing over a few years on flowering trees for an e-group, which he later moved to his blog (www.wildwanderer.com), adding pictures as he went along. “Moreover, Bangalore has a huge history of trees and gardens, which is fast eroding. The idea is to address the issue by bringing the focus back to them.”

Karthik has nurtured a love for wildlife for over 25 years. He is an avid birdwatcher and also has a keen interest in butterflies. As an amateur photographer he has photographed butterflies, landscapes, wild flowers, flowering trees, lesser mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. “I’ve always tried to get people to look at a variety of organisms. Even when I started doing bird-watching walks in Bangalore, I would get people to look at insects and butterflies too.”

He worked with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-India) for over 13 years, before joining the Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd where he is now their chief naturalist. Karthik has also authored The Fauna of Bangalore: The Vertebrates and Butterflies of Bangalore – a checklist that gives a listing of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and butterflies.

His latest work, the pocket-sized Discover Avenue Trees is a ready reckoner of sorts featuring 50 species of avenue trees, each with colourful images and information of popular interest, including their flowering season, country of origin etc. There are also nuggets of natural history observations.

Trees form an important and irreplaceable component of the urban scenario, he observes. “We are in an era when the stress is on ‘developing’ the city. Anything that comes in the way of this development is often laid waste. In a situation like this, it was apt to awaken, among people, the latent pride and interest in the trees that they adored and nurtured less than a generation ago,” he says.

The book, published by EcoEdu Consultants Pvt Ltd, and priced at Rs. 149, will be released on January 25 (today) at St. Joseph’s College, 36, Lal Bagh Road (entrance from Langford Road) at 4 p.m. The book will be available on www.avenuetrees.com.