Bengaluru

404 trees have fallen in five months

In the first five months of this year, the Garden City has witnessed a staggering 404 tree falls — a figure that is twice that of the one recorded in 2009. So what is going wrong? While civic authorities blame the weather, environmentalists point to bad urban planning that has made trees acutely vulnerable to the slightest squall.

On two days in particular — April 21 and May 16 — wind-speeds exceeded 50 kmph with a domino-effect on trees and electric poles, which fell by the wayside.

However, with roads dug up and concrete strangling the trunks, trees have lost the ability to stand up to the vagaries of weather, says Benson Issac, member of Hasiru Usiru.

He says, “Tree roots have been weakened by concrete that constricts natural growth.” He adds that tree-pruning is also being carried out unscientifically.

Trees need at least six-feet of breathing space around them, says Harini Nagendra, Urban Ecology Co-ordinator from Ashok Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE). “When concrete covers the roots, it destabilises the trees and also leads to malnutrition. The space around the trees is important.

The choice of trees that line our streets also has its critics. “Officials need to find appropriate places to plant trees such as the Raintree and Gulmohar that are not native to the country,” said Mr. Isaac. Exotic trees are often not suitable for our climate and their shallow roots are easily disturbed during infrastructure development, adds Bhargavi S. Rao, Coordinator for Education and Training Programme for Environmental Support Group. “They are best grown in botanical gardens,” she says.

Puttaswamy M., Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) with Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), is concerned about the growing incidence of tree-fall. He admits that infrastructure projects such as cable laying and road widening and other activities also contributed to tree-falls.

“Statistics show that there is drastic increase in tree-falls. In 2009, the number of trees which fell was 200 and branches were 275. In 2010, 404 trees and 554 branches have fallen in the city,” he says. The main areas that witnessed tree-falls were Vijayanagar, Rajajinagar, Basaveshwarnagar, Fraser Town and Indiranagar, he says.



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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:41:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/404-trees-have-fallen-in-five-months/article16304646.ece

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