Society for Conservation of Nature

TUMAKURU SETS A GREEN EXAMPLE

NOVEL METHOD OF IMPROVING THE ECOLOGICAL HEALTH OF TUMKUR

(Published in www.downtoearth.org.in Thursday 12 July 2018)

Though Tumkur district of Karnataka State has a forest cover of 1292.76 sq.kms ie., 8.58% of the total extent of the district with an annual rain fall of 575 mm, the efforts taken by the Forest Department in increasing the density of the degraded forests and greening the Highways Roads and rural roads are highly appreciable. The novel methods what do they follow to get cent percent success are really thought provoking.  Probably the land provides such knack of increasing the greenery to the people of the region as in the case of the celebrated Environmentalist ‘Saalumarada Thimmakka’, a native of Tumkur district. The fund is sourced from various schemes like Karnataka Forest Development Fund (KFDF), Road Side Plantation (RSP), Karnataka State Highways Improvement Programme-Phase-II (KSHIP-II), Development of Degraded Programme (DDP), National Bamboo Mission (NBM), Greening of Urban Area (GUA), Karnataka State Fund (KSF), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Assurance (MGNREGA), etc. But the innovative nursery and planting technology followed brings them the success. In case of road side, greening of urban area and highways planting, taller plants of 3 to 4 metres are raised in the nursery within a year by using bigger size containers, selected seeds of known origin and applying organic manure. The well-grown saplings are provided with supporting individual vertical sticks and row wise horizontal sticks in the nursery itself in order to save them from seasonal winds.

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3-4 METRE TALLER PLANTS WITH SUPPORTING STICKS READY FOR PLANTING

Advance pitting is taken by using machinery in the month of April along the roadside and highways. While there is first rain in the month of May, the planting is carried out. Before planting, the container plants are dipped in water so that the plant will have moisture for considerable period of time after planting. With the available moisture, the plants shall develop new roots and establish. The plants are provided with supporting stakes generally of 3 metres long and 15 cm girth to prevent them from swaying due to winds and tied with thorny phoenix leaf with a view to protect them from cattle. With the available moisture, the plants get established. Required watch and ward take care of the protection of the plants. Of course required provision has been given for watering during summer. More than 95 % of the plants get established well and the casualties are replaced in the subsequent year.

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PLANT WITH PHONEIX FENCING   WELL ESTABLISHED 2 YEAR OLD HIGHWAYS PLANTATION

The degraded forest blocks are selected for planting under KFDF scheme. Trenches are formed with the measurements of 4.2 metre length, 0.50 metre width and 0.50 metre depth at an espacement of 4 metres by using machinery.  The container plants of 8”x12” are dipped in water before planting and 2 plants are planted in each trench with subsequent DAP application. Since the soil is loosened in the trench, it helps the plants for easy penetration of the roots deep into the soil and enable them for absorbing soil moisture. Required watch and ward is also provided for protection of the plants. Thus the seedlings get established well and the success rate becomes high. In spite of the careful planting and subsequent upkeep, there may some casualties due to damage caused by porcupines, hare, etc.  Generally this type of planting is carried out in State Forest areas.

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WELL ESTABLISHED KFDF PLANTATIONS WITH 90% SUCCESS RATE IN TUMKUR DIVISION

Thus by using novel methods of planting techniques, the entire team of officers of the Tumkur Forest division is doing a wonderful job of greening the district successfully and the same will increase the density of the forests leading to improvement of the ecological health of the region. While in other states, plants of 2 to 3 metres planted in small size pits with tree guards do not perform well resulting in more number of casualties, the performance of the saplings planted here with scientific techniques attain appreciable growth with maximum survival percentage.

Above all the ‘Salumarada Thimmakka Tree Park ‘ established in Gubbi forest range just on the road which leads to Tumkur in recognition of the great service rendered by the great Environmentalist plays a major role not only in greening the district but also motivate the students and other common public to love trees and create interest in conserving the forests. The Tree Park inaugurated by the Honourable Forest Minister of Karnataka State on 7th of this month has got 40 different species of plants with 2 pergolas, sitting benches, drinking water facilities, walk-way all around the park inside to a length of 2.5 kms and children’s play area with latest facilities. Swietenia mahoganI, Pongamia pinnata, Bambusa bamboS, Dendrocalamus strictus, Madhuca indica, Syzygium cumini, Pterocarpus marsupium, Azadirachta indica, Dalbergia latifolia, Ficus glomerata, Ficus benghalensis, Ficus religiosa, Melia dubia, Cordia myxa, Thespesia populnea, Michelia champaca, Terminlia cutappa, Lagerstromia speciosa, Terminalia tomentosa, etc., have been planted here in the month of March and the same have established well. The park is thrown open to the public without any entrance fee in order to create interest among them and to know the real values of trees and forests. All these activities are planned with the idea of developing more greenery with the support of the public, because of without the involvement and support of the public no such endeavour can be achieved successfully. If such novel and scientific techniques followed by Tumkur Forest Division is emulated throughout the country, the days are not far off to increase the forest cover and improve the ecological health of India.