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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cyclone in the coastal city of Chennai- Revival of green cover



Following are important information that emerged from the brain storming session jointly by Tamil Nadu Association of Senior Professionals on Environment and Forest (TASPEF), Centre for Traditional Medicine and Research (CTMR), Chennai and the Department of Botany, Madras Christian College (MCC), Tambaram on 16th Jan 2017

  • The total number of fallen trees is 12000 but breakage of branches is numerous.

  • Any replanting should be limited to 20000 considering the space available

  •  The trees that have fallen are mostly Albizia saman (Rain Tree), Delonix regia (Gulmohr),  Cassia siamea (Siamese cassia), Peltophorum pterocarpum (Copper pod) and  Tabebuia rosea (Rosy trumpet). He listed the following native trees that have been uprooted viz., Azadirachta indica (Neem), Ficus religiosa (Pipul),Ficus benghalensis (Banyan),Tamarindus indica (Tamarind) and Thespesia populnea (Portia).

  • Poorly developed root system, Infected trunks, Loose soil, Damaged roots: Unbalanced growth and Wind direction and wind barriers are the major influencing factors for Tree fall

  •  Comprehensive plan for the revival of lost biodiversity of the City and the suburban areas and named the same as the GEAR plan. They are: Growing Greenery, Environmental enrichment, Aesthetic amelioration and Restoration of Biodiversity. Under Growing Greenery, appropriate strategy would be proper identification of planting zones, streets etc and using GPS, followed by development of plantation maps, considering environment stabilization requirement, espacement criteria and the need for increasing the number of trees two times.

  •  In the selection of species, following criteria has to be considered: crown cover, aesthetic look, wind resistance, rapidity in growth, evergreen characters, deep rooting, drought hardiness and disease resistance, wildlife and biodiversity value, oxygen producing capacity and ability to sequester carbon dioxide.

  • 4 Ps viz., Policy, Physical space, Planning and Peoples’ participation for achieving success are important in revival of lost biodiversity.

  • It is highly essential that the Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) stipulated in the National Biodiversity Act should be put in place, even in urban areas at the earliest to protect the green lungs like reserve forests, religious groves in the urban parts of our State. The problem should be looked into its whole and not just in bits and fragments.

  • Some actions are taken when problems crop up and then forget about it. The efforts should be sustained and continuous.
  • There is ample scope for the corporate to get involved in the task of re-greening the areas suffered due to Vardah by allocating their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds.

  • There should be a tree planting policy for urban areas that aims to reach the minimum requirement of at least about 9 sq. m tree cover per capita, as recommended by the World Health Organization and further stated that while assessing the tree requirement for Greater Chennai, the above aspect may be taken into consideration

  • There is a need to establish a tree line along each road and street.

  • The persons carrying out outstanding greening activities may be recognized as tree heroes.

  •  Decentralized nursery production may be encouraged but with adequate quality monitoring.
  •   Forest nurseries in Nanmangalam, Velachery and Anna Nagar could be approached for saplings. Technical assistance can be had from the organizers.

It is time to act than talk
Some species considering the possibilities are
·         Neem
·         pungam
·         Punnai
·         Nuna
·         Vagai
·         Vengai
·         Vilvam
·         Kumilam
·         Malai vembu
·         Asokam
·         Puvarasu
·         Arasu
·         Pavalamalli
·         Sarakondrai
·         Naaval
·         Illupai
·         Thetran
·         Nagalingam
·         Murukkan
·         Athi
·         Mulbery
·         Jatropha
·         Adathoda
·         Nochi
·         Kattu badam
·         Putranjevi
·         Kadambam