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Mango trees being reduced to fuel wood

The Forest Corporation and department of the state are felling decades-old green trees on roadsides on the pretext of minor widening of roads.

The state forest authorities could save these trees by adopting the process of translocating green trees to other places.

Translocation of trees is a scientific process by which fully grown trees can be manually uprooted and replanted elsewhere. In the technique through which the trees are translocated, their roots are first exposed and chemicals are applied over them. These are then uprooted manually and planted elsewhere. The chemicals applied on the exposed portions of the roots help them adjust better to the new soil.

Recently, the Forest Corporation of Himachal Pradesh was felling decades-old mango trees along the Bagli road near Dharamsala. Sources available at the spot said the trees were being felled for the widening of the road.

The road is being widened by just a few feet, but the precious old trees are being felled with impunity.

The mango trees that are being felled are precious because of the fact that these slow-growing varieties are not grown these days by people. The trees take at least about 10 years to reach full maturity and can survive for more than 100 years.

Slow-growing varieties are hardy and have better survival rates; these offer better green cover along the roads.

The said trees can be saved if they are translocated. Sources here said the total cost of translocating a fully grown tree was about Rs 15,000. The Forest Corporation could auction these trees as many rich people are willing to buy fully grown trees of their houses as they do not want to wait for years to grow new trees. Sources told The Tribune that many agencies were felling fully grown fruit trees for lakhs to rich people in cities.

The Andhra Pradesh Real Estate Developers Association (APREDA) has taken a pioneering step of saving old trees from getting felled due to infrastructure projects. The association is adopting trees that are being uprooted due to infrastructure projects like the construction of roads and is helping in their translocation.

While it is claimed that every tree can be translocated by adopting scientific techniques, it is said banyan and peepal trees have very high survival rates in the process.

Real-estate builders of North India could also come forward and save at least some old trees from being felled down due to infrastructure projects like the widening of roads.

Forest officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said till date, the department had not thought about the concept of translocating old trees that were felled along the roads.

It is a pity that decades-old trees, especially fruit trees, that cannot be replaced, are reduced to fuelwood for infrastructure projects when another option is available.

The Tribune (15-01-2014)