Forest/ Representative pic
Forest/ Representative pic

Indore: Lockdown has proven to be a bliss for nature as you can experience with fresh air and greener surroundings, but that’s not it, sapling survival has also seen a major boost as a result of which the massive annual plantation drive carried out by the forest department during monsoon won't be done this year.

“This year, we have not received any target for 2020 to plant saplings like every year, rather we will only be working on casualty replacement,” divisional forest officer (DFO) TS Suliya said. He added that they have received instructions to work on casualties, i.e. replace saplings that might have failed to survive due to number of reasons.

“Survival of saplings depends on various reasons including transportation, weather, moisture, area, temperature, pests and general ecosystem,” Suliya said. This year, with lockdown, the general ecosystem of the urban areas has also healed from air, water and land pollution.

“We will be planting only 3 lakh saplings this monsoon, which is about 20 per cent of last year’s figure,” Suliya said. He explained these 3 lakh saplings will help in countering any casualties from last year’s plantation.

“This year, we can actually witness a change in the city, as those areas, which were normally barren and dry due to harsh summers and increased pollution are green and flourishing,” Suliya said.

Highest & Lowest Sapling Mortality Areas in Indore

Highest mortality recorded in Sanwer: This year the highest mortality was recorded in Sanwer area. About 15 per cent of total saplings had died in the region. “The reason for mortality were many across seedings,” Suliya said.

As a step to bring up the survival rate of saplings in the area, the department is planning other techniques of plantations there. “We have included root-shoot methods, tree plantations, etc. so that the site can improve in terms of fertility, survival and support seedling growth,” Suliya said.

Lowest mortality recorded in Nahar Jhabua: Barely 2 per cent saplings planted in the area failed to survive. “The possibility of survival could be higher here due to site and climate. We can learn about survival rate by analysing the place and ecosystem here,” Suliya said.

As per investigation and research, it was found that the sapling survival rate in Nahar Jhabua was highest because of bamboo trees planted near the site. “Bamboos seem to protect saplings and even help them in growing, as many aspects of underground tree communication are still mysterious for us,” Suliya said.

Lockdown time: Trees increased resistance, recovered from conditions

Environment breathed a sigh of relief when vehicles took a break from releasing harmful particles in it during the lockdown. As per records, air quality index (AQI), which was generally was above 122 and even reached above 200 in some days dropped to 40 and now is recorded between 60 to 90 on an average day.

Air pollutants cause changes in tree condition, tree physiology, and biogeochemical cycling; lowered tree resistance to insects and disease; and affected function of diverse forest types, as per a research published at Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

A relief from air pollutants has helped trees in recovering from these conditions with improved resistance to diseases.

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