Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A million trees a year can meet targets, not Delhi need: Experts

A million trees a year can meet targets, not Delhi need: Experts

Officials counter charge of creating monocultures, depleting groundwater with wrong choice of trees,/i>

Close to a million trees are planted every year in Delhi as part of the city’s greening programme but environmentalists say there is little ecological basis behind the selection of tree species to be planted.

Worse, they could lead to long term problems like the creation of monocultures and the depletion of groundwater. But, this is a charge officials deny.

According to Ajay Mahajan of the NGO ‘Kalpavriksha’, the city’s civic agencies which are in charge of planting trees along roads and in parks, focus only on three or four types of trees.

“For roads, the current favourite is a tree called ficus benjamina. You’ll see it on avenues and central verges. Lakhs of these were planted during the Commonwealth Games. In some areas they’ve also planted a lot of frangipani. And for parks they choose polyalthia longifolia, which looks like the Ashok tree but actually is a different variety. Certain types of palm like the fishtail palm are also planted.”

Mahajan says of all four varieties are basically ornamental trees and none are native to Delhi.

“This kind of plantation is only to meet official targets. These trees are planted very close to each other and grow like hedges. So, they don’t provide shade or help in climate moderation. The temperature difference on the roads that have tall trees— like in Central Delhi — and those that don’t can be up to four of five degrees, he said.

Source: indianexpress

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