Tree census to be carried out in the city by Rajagiri college

Aged trees, which have outlived their life span, will be replaced with new saplings in the city. An assessment of such trees is being made by the Kochi Corporation with the support of an external agency.

The assessment forms part of the green drive of the Kochi Corporation. The Corporation council had recently cleared a proposal from the Rajagiri School of Social Sciences to carryout a tree census in the city. The agency will take stock of the tree population in the district and label them, according to E.M. Sunilkumar, chairman of the Town Planning Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation.

The civic body will pay Rs. 5.5 lakh for the project. It took nearly four months for the civic authorities to clear the project for a tree census. Though the civic authorities and the authorities of the School had entered into an agreement for tree census some four months ago, the deal was not formalised. With the Corporation council clearing the project, the survey would begin soon, authorities said.

The programme is to start a sample survey by mid-November and complete it before the first quarter of the next year. During the survey, the details of each tree located in public places in the city will be recorded. The use of the tree, its approximate age and scientific name will also be recorded.

According to authorities, a large number of trees need to be replaced. They also pointed out that a large number of Vaaka trees in the city have completed their natural life. Forest authorities have also indicated that some others have crossed 50 years, said civic authorities. The replacement of the aged trees with new saplings will have to be carried out in a careful manner and the varieties for replacement should be done with utmost care, say experts.

Preference should be given to trees with a long lifespan and the future development of the city should also be taken into account while executing the project, authorities said. Any such project will have to be undertaken by taking the general public into confidence. An awareness programme on the need for replacement of the aged trees will also have to be carried out, civic authorities said.

The attempts to fell trees located on the campuses of a few public sector companies and government offices for development projects had invited the wrath of the environmentalists in the city. The authorities had also intervened to stop the axing of some trees on Maharajas College campus recently following protests from students and teachers.

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