R. Krishna Kumar

Forest Department launches species-specific tree parks

MYSORE: Providing the proverbial silver lining to the gloomy scenario of rampant tree-felling to pave the way for development in Mysore, the Forest Department has planted 20,000 saplings during 2009-10 in the city.

Disclosing this, the Conservator of Forests, Mysore Circle, B.P. Raju, told The Hindu that the focus of the department was more on rural areas and its work in urban centres had gone unnoticed. The department had been silently, but assiduously, working in the city to restore its green cover.

The department has launched a unique initiative of species-specific tree parks that include banni saplings at Bannimantap, and neem, honne, sandalwood, mango, etc., in other places. “The department is keen on planting indigenous species rather than exotic ones that do not support birdlife, and hence, have identified 19 indigenous tree species for the purpose,” Mr. Suresh said.

He said 500 saplings of banni had been planted in addition to honge. “We are developing a theme-based tree park in the city,” he added.

The theme-based tree parks will come up in 20 places across the city. They include a sandalwood park for Karnataka Sandal and Detergents Ltd. on the Aranya Bhavan campus, 300 saplings of “sampige” will be planted at Police Layout in Nadanahalli, 300 saplings of nelli along the ring road, 300 saplings of honne at Bannimantap in addition to 60 saplings of Banni, among others. In all, 8,000 saplings have been planted across the city under the species-specific tree parks and the department will incur an expenditure of around Rs. 8 lakh. However, the department has set in the process of replacing the dead saplings and the authorities hope that Mysore’s green cover would increase substantially and be compensated for the reckless tree-felling in its march towards urbanisation.

The department has also decided to rope in educational institutions and government institutions in the project to increase the green cover, and hopes to take up a massive afforestation programme in the vacant areas to enhance the green cover.

In addition to saplings under tree parks scheme, the authorities have planted 3,000 saplings during 2009-10, covering most residential areas. These include 673 saplings in Vijayanagar 4th Stage, 776 saplings in Rajeevnagar 3rd Stage parks no. 2 and no. 4, 663 saplings at Saatgalli, 479 in Rajeevnagar 2nd Stage, while 1,800 saplings on the land owned by the Sandalwood Factory of which, 800 are sandalwood. Though the department provides saplings and maintains them for three years, the MUDA and the MCC too have joined the efforts. Under the MCC initiative supported by the Forest Department, 13,500 saplings have been planted during 2000-10 in residential areas, including 6,000 saplings on the Excel Plant campus, 687 saplings at Bannimantap, 527 saplings in Srirampura 1st Stage and 2nd Stage, 937 saplings in Police Layout, 1,286 saplings in Vijayanagar 4th Stage and 1,292 saplings in Vijaynagar 3rd Stage.