Society for Conservation of Nature

THIS TOWN IN KARNATAKA HAS ITS VERY OWN CENTRAL PARK

GUBBI TREE PARK-AN INNOVATIVE IDEA OF CREATING AWARENESS ABOUT TREE GROWING

(Published in www.downtoearth.org.in Tuesday 24 July 2018)

Gubbi town is one of the Taluk head quarters of Tumkur dostrict of Karnataka state. It is situated at a distance of about 20 kms from Tumkur. Though it is a small town with the present population of approximately 20,000, it keeps on expanding. The famous Chennabasaweshwara Temple located here attracts large number of pilgrims throughout the year. Many educational institutions have  come  up on the outskirts of the town, increasing the basic needs of the public for a healthy life. With the idea of meeting out the basic requirements like walking tracks, place for recreation, playing yard for children, study centre for students, meditation centre, etc., the tree park has been established recently by the Tumkur Forest Division. The tree park is located on the Gubbi-Bidare road. The park is about 0.50 km from the Railway station and about 1.50 km from Gubbi bus stand. Out of the 700 acres of the state forest, an extent of 30 ha has been selected for establishment of the park.

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SCHOOL CHILDREN IN FRONT OF THE TREE PARK ESTABLISHED RECENTLY ON GUBBI-BIDARE ROAD

The site for the park is selected in the vicinity of the town so that it is easily approachable. Since the area being a notified State Forest, it has already tree growth and the same may have positive impact on the visitors till the saplings planted recently attain considerable size. By way of forming such parks in notified forests, possible encroachments by anti-social elements can be avoided. Utmost care is taken to select such areas which do not have any nuisance by wild animals and common monkeys.  As the objective of the formation of this kind of Tree Park is to spread the concept of creation of wood lots all over the state, only one such site is selected in each district.

The entire area is protected by planting RCC posts with chain link fence all around. Walking paths and crisscross paths have been developed with rain water drainage on either side of the path. Tree species which are endemic to the region have been given preference. Taller plants of minimum 4 metres height are planted in bigger size pits with supporting pole in order to prevent swaying due to seasonal winds and avoid any possible damage to the younger saplings. Two low cost pergolas using local materials have been erected for relaxation of the visitors.

Saplings of 40 tree species have been planted here with the application of organic manure. Santalum album, Pterocarpus santalinus, Pterocarpus marsupium, Mesua ferrua, Butea monosperma, Annona  squamosa, Cassia fistula, Thespesia populnea, Swietenia macrophylla, Swietenia mahogany, Saraca ashoka, Mangifera indica, Syzygium cumini, Hardwickia binata, Pongemia pinnata, Dalbergia latifolia, Azadirachta indica, Holeptelia integrifolia, Melia composita, Ficus benghalensis, Ficus religiosa, Ficus glomerata, Cordia myxa, Madhuca latifolia, Artocarpus heterophyllus, Tamarindus indica, Bambusa bambos, Dendrocalamaus strictus, Bauhinia purpurea, Michelia champaca, Tecoma stans, Terminalia catappa, Terminalis crenulata, Lagestroemia speciosa, Albizzia lebbek, Feronia elephantum, Aegle marmelos, Dalbergia sissoo, Simarouba glauca, Singapore cherry, etc., have been planted in this tree park. Each plant will be provided with information boards with its scientific and vernacular names, family it belongs to, ecological, medicinal and commercial values, etc., in order to generate interest among the onlookers to grow more such trees for the betterment of the globe as a whole as trees play a major role in mitigating global warming. Various theme parks like Rashi Vanam, Nakshatra Vanam,  Medicinal Garden, Tree Groves of different species, Rare, Endangered & Threatened (RET) Species Garden, Rattan (Cane) Garden, etc., are going to be formed in future. Sign boards depicting information about local flora and fauna are going to be installed. Efforts are taken to form groves of different types like Bamboo Grove, Tamarindus Grove, Mahogany Grove, Madhuca Grove, Ficus Grove, Neam Grove, Jamun Grove, Champaca Grove, Badam Grove, etc.

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LOW COST PERGOLA ERECTED INSIDE THE TREE PARK FOR RELAXATION OF THE VISITORS

According to Dr. Nancy Beckham of Australia, ‘Trees and plants silently carry out their daily routines year after year, stabilising the soil, recycling nutrients, cooling the air, modifying wind turbulence, intercepting the rain , absorbing the toxins, reducing fuel costs, neutralising sewage, increasing property values, enhancing social awareness, providing beauty, cutting noise, giving privacy, promoting tourism, encouraging recreation, reducing stress, and improving personal health as well as providing food, medicine and accommodation for other living things’.(www.uow.edu.au/-sharonb/STS300/valuing /price/pricingarticles.html).

Drinking water and irrigation facilities have been provided. The park is blessed with a canal that has water flow during the rainy season. Sitting benches and dustbins have been provided all around the walkway and near the existing trees. Children’s play areas have been formed with sufficient numbers of play equipments. There is proposal to erect a few solar lights and low cost toilets both for men and women separately. The free entry to the Tree Park is considered to be a boon to the local public and the students of the schools and colleges as well. The student community is engaged by the well versed forest officials of the park by explaining the multifarious uses of the trees and the forests for a healthy and prosperous life.

The information centre proposed to be constructed here may have valuable information about the great naturalist Seattle of the United States, the sacrifice of 365 Bishnais in Kejarli village of Rajsthan in order to protect the Prosopis spicigera trees, the brave story of Gaura Devi of Rane village of Uttarkhand who protected the trees form the axe of the forest contractor, the inspiring story of Jadav Payeng Molai of Assam who single-handedly raised about 1360 acres of forest and of course how can they miss the motivating history of Salumarada Thimmakka of Gubbi, who along with her husband have raised 385 banyan trees on either side of the road between Hulikal and Kudur to a stretch of 4 Kms.

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In the present day world, when development has been achieved in all spheres, people don’t find safe place for walking or performing meditation. So, in this scenario, establishment of Tree Park like this may be of immense use for everyone. As healthy trees create healthy communities, better business   and higher property values, establishment of woodlots like this may pave way for peaceful and prosperous living. Hence, district wise Tree Park can be developed throughout the country for the betterment of the society and the same will definitely lead to mitigation of the ever increasing global warming and climate change. In this aspect, the Karnataka Forest Department is doing a wonderful service and the same idea can be emulated by other states also for creation of more such wood lots by submitting proposals to the State and the Central Governments for appropriate sanction and approval.