Greening encompasses planting different types of plants for different venues. Planting of 3 to 4 year old saplings of trees, along the roads sides. Wasteland reclamation plants in the waste land areas. Medicinal plants at pre-selected special patches.
Along with planting watering, fertilizing and weeding of the planted saplings for proper growth is the basic prerequisite.
Greening should be a collaborative project with the RWA’s in colonies, Government bodies if its on Government land , Corporate Social Responsibility Project for well known parks , landfill sites etc.
Greening has to be a long term and multi prolonged event/activity/project/.
Greening invariably enhances the biodiversity of the area and reduces air and noise pollution.
Vatavaran’s experience with greening:
Greening of the ridge
Ridge can be greened with much greater ease, if the right kind of scrubland vegetation is chosen. The secret lies in choosing the correct species, and planting it at the appropriate time and following the method of ‘greening without watering’.
The water retention capability of dry land is very limited. Hence it is important to choose a species, which not only holds the water but also make the surrounding soil moist. Scrub should also be inter grown with those varieties of trees, which need very little care.
Unlike most trees, indigenous species do not require very deep ‘gaddas’ or pits for planting. A foot or so is enough. During rains, the roots will collect water, and the young plants immediately absorb it. As the plant takes roots, it naturally beings to survive in the arid environment. It also starts to increase the biomass of its vicinity. The soil gets enriched, Insects and worms come, followed by birds and their nests. Slowly a complex ecological chain is formed, ranging from micro organisms to mammals.
Time of plant
All plantations must be carried out during the monsoon season after one or two heavy rains. On an average in the first month of plantation the survival in all the areas is above 90% but as the weather changes from monsoon to dry, the survival rate declines to 75 percent. During December and January due to extremely cold weather the survival rate can come down to 60 percent if utmost care is not taken.
I have observed many agencies under taking mass plantations on or June – the World Environment day. This is ridiculous as June is a hot dry month, thus it is most difficult time of the year to make the saplings survive.
Method of plantation
Mud bunds and trenches along the natural slopes of the areas help us harvest rain water during monsoons. Vatavaran opts for trench, batch plantation instead of individual plantation as it saved labour and water utilization. The problematic soils with too many stones or gravel should be enriched by adding Bio-Manure or organic matter. This changes the soil in its pH, EC and Organic Carbon. These additives improved soil conditions as indicated by Ca/Na ratio.
Use of organic manure made by the Cleaning Brigades leads to excellent survival rate as has been evident during our greening operations in Vasant Kunj and Mahipalpur Army Complex. The trees grew healthier too. If there is an inherent problem of termites attacking the trees, this should be tackled by extensive replacement of top soil with organic manure mixed with ‘Neem Ki Khali’.
Soil condition in terms of nutrients available is directly related to the litter types from different canopies. Overall reduction in pH, EC, and increase in Organic Carbon, K and P is brought by decomposition and mineralization of litter. Different tree canopies have different capabilities of improving the soil due to different amount of humus deposition followed by the decomposition process leading to soil amelioration.
Species selection for plantation on Ridge should belong to the area as they have high establishment rate, a good root system, a moderate growth rate, good recovery from damage and could produce sufficient regeneration.
As the focus of the plantation program must be environmental conservation, the species selected must have the qualities to improve the (1) eco-balance, (ii) microclimate, (iii) soil and water conservation, (iv) with stand adverse climatic conditions and (v) not introduce undesirable pests in the area.
The recommended species for greening of Delhi Ridge are Acacia levcophloea (Ronj), Acacia nilotica (Babul), Acacia modesta (Phulahi), Albizialebbek (Kala sins), Adhatoda vasica (Bansa), Balanitesroxburghii (Hingot), Butea monosperma (Flame of the forest), Capparis decidua (Karir), Cassia fistula (Amaltas), Cordiadichotoma (Lasoora), Delbergia sissoo (Shisham), Erythringsuberosa (Dhol Dhak), Ehretialaevis (Desi Papri), Holarrhenaantidysenterica (Kurchi), Pithecellobiumdulce (jangalJallebi), Terminalliabelerica (Bahera), Zizyphus Munmularis (ben), PiluAnogeissuspendula (Dhoy).
A good example of a shrub which grows as under growth is Bansa,(Adhatoda vasica). Its roots have the capability to minimize water runoff. It also has medicinal anti-cough properties and used in cough syrups. Another example is Ber, (Ziziphusmaurtina) which also provides fresh, sweet, pungent fruit rich in vitamin C.
Tree Hingot, (Balanitesaegyptiaca), does have sharp thorns but that is what protects it from being eatern by cattle thus is recommended where grazing is prevalent. It also has a fragrant greenish white flower, and its fruit pulp is an antidote for whooping cough. The woody portion of the fruit yields a powder used for making of fine cork and fire works, whilst the tree’s wood is hard enough to be used as a cobbler’s sharpener.
– Dhakis a traditional Indian tree and it adds a splash of color to the drab, dry stretch arid Ridge land. During spring Dhak (Butea monosperma) sprouts bright orange, flame coloured flowers, giving the tree its more popular name – ‘the flame of the forest’. The flowers provide food for many birds. The petals of the flower are crushed to form the ‘kesu’ dye used during tradition Holi. Its seeds give clear oil and its stem exudes a gum known for its astringent qualities. The hard leathery leaves can be stitched together to form plates. Its trunk can supply lac.
Babul (Acacia nilotica),is an other extremely hardy tree, which needs very little moisture to grow in. An evergreen, it closes its leaves during the hotter parts of the day to prevent loss of moisture, and its lower trunk is covered with long, silvery white thorns, again to prevent cattle from grazing on.
The uneven, cracked, dark brown bark oozes a gum, which is used for making of glue.
However areas of the Ridge along the main roads with heavy traffic must have trees with medium to large sized leaves. Compound leaves of Babool are not efficient trappers of dust and suspended particulate matter.
Dhoyis a small tree which starts branching from base. Its ash color stem, vermilion colored buds, yellow flowers and red fruit make it very attractive.
And then there are trees with fragrance. While Rong and Shirish have pale yellow flowers with mild fragrance, pilu’s greenish yellow flowers are sweet smelling. Amaltas with its sunshine yellow flowers in dropping clusters has fascinated poets and writers over the centuries. A look at a blooming Amaltas can cheer even the most distressed souls.
Experiments to now characteristic of some ridge tree species
Three different trees i.e. Dhak, Kikar and Semal within a radius of 0.5 km were selected in the South Central Ridge to find out the size of the leaves in relation to a tree with small canopy. On one particular day, the temperature was recorded under each of them simultaneously.
- Maximum temperature was recorded under the tree species (kikar) with small leaves and small canopy.
- Trees (Dhak and Semal) with a small canopy but broad leaves had 0.5°C less temperature than a tree with small leaves and small canopy.
|Tree||Canopy Size||Size of Leaves||Temperature (°C)|
SUITABLE SPECIES FOR GREENING THE RIDGE
Geneus Species (Common Name)
- Acaciaferruginea (Phulahi)
- Acacia Senegal (Katha)
- Acacia leucophloea (Ronj)
- Acacia nilotica (Babul)
- Acacia lebbeck (Siras)
- Anogeissuspendula (Dhoy)
- AIbizziaamara (Sins)
- Albizzia procera (Sins)
- Albizziaadoratissima (Siris)
- Albizzialebbek (kalaSiris)
- Balanitesroxburghii (Hingot)
- Butea monosperma (Dhak)
- Cassia fistula (Amaltas) Tree
- Ehretialaevis (Papri)
- Flacourtiaindia (Khatai)
- Feroniaelephantum (Kaith)
- Ficus benghalensis (Bargad)
- Ficus glomerata (Gular)
- Grewiaasiatica (Phalsa)
- Gnewiatenax (Ramchana)
- Grewiabetulaefolia (Ramchana)
- Wrightiatrinctoria (Kurchi)
- Propopisspicigera (Chonkra)
- Zizyphus mauntiana (Ber)
- Cappans decidua Shrubs
- Capparis sepiaria
- Cordiadichotoma (Lasoora)
- Cordiarothii (Gondi)
- Carissa spinarum (Caronda)
- Diospyroscordifolia (Kendu)
- Diospyrosmontana (Kendu)
Vatavaran believes that each colony must have a colony forest . A park can be converted into a forest . Vatavaran worked on giving forest character to Mahavir park.
From parks to forest
Though Delhi has over a hundred public parks, tree lined avenues and thousands of mericured lawns but, Delhi’s forest cover had been reducing at a rate of 1% per year since 1940.
Result : the oxygen release is decreasing. One Sq.km. of dense tree area emanates approximately 3 tonnes of °2 while the same area of park releases just one ton of 02. 1 Sq.km. of dense tree cover can absorb 2.5 tons carbon dioxide while to do the same job a golf course or a manicured lawn would have to be 10 times more in size.
Vatavaran selected Mahavir Park on Ridge as a model and did an extensive study on its existing character and how giving it a forest character would benefit the environment and people of Delhi.
PARK TO FOREST TABLE
|Temp. in June
Noise LevelO2 generation
Pollutant dust absorption
Man power requirement
10-40 dB1 ton I Sq.km. area
1.7 tons/sq.km area
6 gm/24 hrs./10 M2
0-10 dB3 tons I Sq.km. area
4.2 tons I sq.km. area
11 gms/24 hrs/10 H2
Dr. Ms. Iqbal Malik
Founder & Director