‘Tree Plantation Drives Harming Biodiversity’

Aravalli Forests

“Tree plantation drives promote woodlands at the expense of grasslands, shrubs etc. Grass lands support biodiversity peculiar to them and are crucial to the survival of several species of plants, animals, and insects. Tree plantations mostly involve planting ornamental species like Gulmohar, Jacaranda etc., irrespective of their place of origin or their invasiveness avoiding indigenous species. This is why bio diversity is being harmed because of tree plantation drives” said Vijay Dhasamana, Ecologist in charge of the Gurugram Aravali Biodiversity park. He was giving a talk at NewDelhi’s INTACH recently. The talk was organized by Srijan Foundation.   He warned people to be very judicious when it comes to planting trees “what grows in Himalayas cannot grow by the side of the Yamuna, what grows in Lodhi Gardens may not nessecarily survive at Najafgarh we need to keep microhabitats in mind.”

He pointed out how rampant urbanization is constantly depleting the forest cover “all the bureaucrats are convinced that they have to have another big city next to Gurgaon, people from Gurgaon, Noida, Greater Noida are selling and have purchased larger land in Alwar expecting urbanisation to take place in the near future. The result being that most of the flora and fauna  outside of the Wildlife Sanctuary or National Park or Reserve forests is  depleting rapidly.”

He felt that for forests to survive humans need to develop a relationship with them they need to have recreational value “It is evident from the experience of the last hundred years we simply won’t let forests to survive unless there is some meaning for humans – either they should have commercial value or they should have recreational value. Corbett or Ranthambore won’t survive if there are no Tiger there. Irrespective of the fact that Aravali recharges close to 2 million liters of water per hectare per year, urbanization is killing it fast.”

Dhasmana labeled the nursery’s as a big racket which are promoting exotic and invasive trees, shrubs and herbs at the expense of indigenous species “I attended one tree plantation drive in Aravalli close to Delhi, truckloads of saplings from Punjab were brought in, to my amazement except for one none of the trees were indigenous that is native to the place.  Most of those non indegeneous species were unlikely to survive in Aravalli anyway. Nurseries are a big racket they are promoting only what sells in the markets of Singapore, Thailand, Dubai completely ignoring the local ecology- that’s what they supply to the tree plantation drives.”

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