Retaining the city’s green cover

Eighty per cent of transplanted trees have survived in new locations. By M.A. Siraj

Matured trees with large canopies are the first casualty when infrastructural projects are taken up in cities. Be it laying of Metro lines, or construction of flyovers or expansion of thoroughfares, trees are uprooted to yield space for the huge masonry structures. But latest technology and experiments are now enabling conservation of these trees and thereby the green cover. The Bangalore Environment Trust (BET) and BMRCL have successfully partnered translocation of large trees from sites of construction to lakesides, parks and gardens.

Trees transplanted during the recent years under the supervision of BET have shown a survival rate of 80% and thus form a green alternative to chopping of trees or planting of saplings which may take 10 to 15 years to mature. As for the cost, it ranges between ₹15,000 and ₹20,000 for a medium-sized tree which is worthwhile given the time range a sapling may claim for growing into a full-fledged tree. In 2007, the BET transplanted 10 grown-up trees from M.G. Road Metro station site to the ground behind it. Only three of them survived while the remaining perished due to lack of proper care.

Next it took up transplantation of 30 neem trees in Charakavana medicinal garden inside the Bangalore University campus. The BET supervised the operation and looked after them till they got firmly established in the new location, sending out new shoots. All except one, survived.

Later, the BBMP also took up the task and transplanted 300 trees at various locations. Cranes and heavy machinery were used to lift large trees. Each tree was treated suitably before and after pruning.

BMRCL success

Under the BET partnership, the BMRCL moved over 100 trees from Yellow Line area between R.V. Road and Silk Board to the KSRP campus during October-November 2017. Early last year, they moved another 180 trees from Red Line area between Gottigere and Jayadeva. They were transplanted to IIM campus, KSRP, Hulimavu lake shore and three parks off Bannerghatta Road. Eighty per cent of these trees have survived after 12 months, mainly due to the care taken by the personnel working for the BMRCL contractors.

Large Ficus trees

Some initiatives taken by Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) too have shown success. For instance, RWAs from Sarjapur Road came to the rescue of two large 70-year old Ficus trees on Bannerghatta Road. Funds were raised through online crowd-sourcing. These trees were shifted to the Arakere Lake shore. The BMRCL and Simplex provided the machines free of cost and Jayanti Gardens implemented the transplantation. Most of these trees belonged to T. Rosea, Pletophorum, Millingtonia and Indian Almond species.

Buoyed with the success, BET Chairman Yellappa Reddy says the infrastructural development of Bengaluru could be planned without sacrificing its green cover and even matured trees could be moved over distances and transplanted. Post-translocation care holds the key as it entails regular watering, application of growth hormones and fungicides, and trunk protection.

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