30 trees on VSSC campus get a new abode

Trees from an area to be developed translocated to space near ISRO quarters

December 09, 2020 06:31 pm | Updated 06:46 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The trees being planted at the new site.

The trees being planted at the new site.

At a time when trees are felled without a second thought to make way for roads and buildings, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) has set an example by transplanting 30 fully grown trees on its sprawling campus here.

The space unit decided to find a new home for the trees when the Integrated Structural Test Facility (INSTEF) area was identified for new development. All 30 trees were painstakingly translocated to an open space near the ISRO staff quarters, a VSSC official said. The ‘tree challenge,’ supervised by the horticulture wing under the Civil and Maintenance Group of the space unit, involved 21 mango trees, three fig trees, three neem, and one each of copperpod, ‘mulluvenga’ and devil’s tree.

Transplanting or translocating a tree involves its transportation from a ‘host site’ to a ‘receptor site.’ This is easier said than done as the process involves fully grown trees which can undergo shocks when they are detached from the soil. Problems can range from root injury to infections and lack of moisture and failure to adapt to the new soil conditions.

“Even after transplantation, trees can undergo tremendous stress due to changes in their ability to absorb water due to root loss. Water stress is the primary reason for transplant failure. Root loss also reduces carbohydrate storage, affecting energy available for rapid root regeneration, critical for transplant survival,” VSSC officials said.

Scientific process

Transplantation involves a scientific process of identifying the appropriate tree species, the new location and its preparation and pruning of their crowns to preserve the trees’s capacity to sustain itself and build up reserves, according to the VSSC. With trees now provided a new home, the VSSC is now giving a lot of attention to their post-planting care.

“A transplanted tree needs to be monitored daily for its survival, growth, pests, diseases and other physiological symptoms. It should withstand the tests of nature for at least a year (covering all the three seasons) before we can declare it as surviving or successful,” a VSSC official said. In the process, the space unit also hopes to firm up a standard operating procedure for tree translocation in sandy soil conditions.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.