Bengaluru

BBMP is likely to begin tree census in city this month

Those conducting the census will also make note of the age, health, and how long the tree is likely to survive. File Photo

Those conducting the census will also make note of the age, health, and how long the tree is likely to survive. File Photo   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

All trees will be enumerated, scanned, and coded during the three-year exercise

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is likely to take up a tree census in November. The civic body had in October given an undertaking to the Karnataka High Court that it would take up the census through the Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST), a wing of the Centre’s Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education.

According to sources in the BBMP, the three-year census will be taken up at a cost of ₹4.32 crore. To ensure that the work begins as planned, the BBMP has also sought exemption under the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act.

The proposal in this regard was also sent to the Urban Development Department. Before the survey, BBMP will execute a memorandum of understanding with IWST.

While enumeration of trees and saplings will be taken up in the first year of the census, it is during the second and third year that the tree species will be identified. Those undertaking the census will also make note of the age, health and how long the tree is likely to survive. Each tree will also be coded.

According to BBMP officials, scanners will be used to assess the health of a tree, which will help experts identify diseases if any, if the roots are weak or if the trunk is hollow. “Once the weak and diseased trees are identified, we will consult with experts and decide on whether they need to be felled,” sources said, adding that there are many non-indigenous tree species in the city that are prone to falling during heavy rains and strong winds. “Indigenous species, such as peepal, honge, and tamarind, are hardy. They not only have a long life, but also a strong root system,” sources added.

The tree census has been in the pipeline since 2017-18, when ₹4 crore was earmarked in the civic budget. In 2019-20 budget, the civic body set aside another ₹2 crore. The census had been approved by the BBMP council, which saw the need to identify weak and diseased trees in the city in the interest of public safety. However, due to personnel shortage in the civic body’s forest department, work was not taken up. Incidentally, the IWST had evinced interest in taking up the census and had also written to the BBMP on this matter.

The High Court, which began hearing a public interest litigation petition on the condition of trees in the city, repeatedly expressed displeasure over the civic body’s failure to conduct a tree census though it is mandated under the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 5:19:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/bbmp-is-likely-to-begin-tree-census-in-city-this-month/article29861165.ece

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