Getting nature back on track with greening

Three crore saplings being readied for afforestation drive

April 30, 2018 07:42 am | Updated 07:07 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

 Saplings that are being cultivated by the Social Forestry wing in Thiruvananthapuram

Saplings that are being cultivated by the Social Forestry wing in Thiruvananthapuram

Nurseries of the Forest Department in the district are buzzing with activity as State government peps up its afforestation drive.

The government, which distributed 1 crore saplings last year, has set a higher goal this year — to distribute 3 crore saplings. While the project is being spearheaded by the Haritha Keralam Mission, the Forest Department is entrusted the task of cultivating 80 lakh saplings. Over over 5 lakh of these saplings are being nurtured in the nurseries of the Thiruvananthapuram social forestry division in the Thiruvananthapuram, Attingal and Neyyattinkara ranges.

Ethnic species

According to J.R. Ani, Assistant Conservator of Forests (Social Forestry), Thiruvananthapuram, several ethnic species including neem, pomegranate, jackfruit, custard apple, rambutan, Indian blackberry (jamun or ‘njaval’), mahogany, bamboo, and teak are being cultivated.

There are also sacred grove varieties including Bilva (koovalam), Hopea parviflora (kambakam), Cassia fistula (kanikkonna), and Indian blackvberry (jamun or njaval).

Besides, 75,000 seedlings of curry leaves are being cultivated separately for distribution among city residents. The endeavour is being undertaken with the financial assistance of the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change.

The seedlings will be distributed prior to the World Environment Day to educational institutions, government offices, local self-government institutions and other institutions. At the same time, the department has commenced efforts to assess the condition of plants that had been distributed last year.

Orders placed

Mr. Ani says the Social Forestry wing is also currently engaged in preparing a bulk order of saplings that were sought by various units of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Among them, the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) has requested 6,000 seedlings of diverse varieties including Thespesia populnea (poovarasu), rambutan, Artocarpus hirsutus (anjili) and Annona muricata (Soursop). They are being cultivated in the Neyyattinkara range nurseries.

The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) has also placed orders for 1,000 and 500 saplings respectively, which are currently being nurtured at the nurseries in the Attingal range.

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