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Natural deodar germination prolific this season

 

Prolific natural germination of deodar in and around the state capital this season has proved false the claim of the Forest Department that the region is no longer suitable for the precious timber species due to warming up of the environment.

Deodar saplings have mushroomed in thousands not only in forest areas but in and around congested localities in the town as well. It seems that every seed which fell on soft ground germinated.

The Forest Department which spends a huge amount on growing plant material at its nursery, has got readymade saplings. All that is needed is to protect those and ensure that those grow to the height required for planting.

The vanishing green cover due to haphazard construction, particularly the failure of the Forest Department in ensuring the deodar survival, has been a major cause of concern in the state capital.

Clusters of saplings are visible around every deodar tree and seeds have germinated by the side of metalled roads and around buildings including the Chief Secretary’s residence and officers' residential block Brock Hurst.

Himalayan Forest Research Institute Director VRR Singh said the prolific germination had been due to extremely favourable weather conditions.

He said the state had timely and abundant snowfall and there had been frequent spells of rain after winter providing adequate moisture for seeds to germinate.

He said the institute would undertake a scientific study to evaluate the natural regeneration of the species in different conditions. He said different sites would be identified and the areas would be protected from biotic interference.

He added that this would help enable scientists ascertain the best conditions for regeneration in the wild. He further said the possibility of transplanting saplings instead of growing those in nurseries would be explored.

Additional Secretary for Revenue Man Singh said the phenomenon was visible across the state at an elevation of 5,000 feet and above. He was the first to notice saplings in front of his house and drew the attention of the Forest Department.

He said he was trying to persuade local residents to take care of saplings and ensure their survival till the arrival of the monsoon so that those did not die due to drought-like conditions.

Divisional Forest Officer Inder Singh said he had directed the field staff to extract saplings which had come up on shallow soil and grow those in polythene bags like was being done at nurseries.

The prolific regeneration makes it evident that assertions of the Forest Department that environmental conditions are no longer suitable for growing deodar are misplaced.

The unregulated expansion of the concrete jungle is making the eco-sensitive high hill ranges impervious and the highest peak of Jakhu has not been spared.

Many structures have been constructed around the Hanuman temple at Jakhu and a large area is covered with tiles.

The well by the side of the temple in which the snow was stored for summer is nowhere to be seen. Stone masonry has been raised around deodar trees.

Growth Story

  • Saplings mushroom in forests, around congested localities in Shimla
  • Forest Dept gets ready saplings which it must protect, ensure growth is
  • Proves false claim of Forest Dept that region no longer suitable for deodar
  • Germination due to timely and abundant snowfall, frequent rain after winter

The Tribune (13-05-2013)