Bhubaneswar, Oct 28:
The Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO) has urged the state government to make a proper choice of tree species before taking up the proposed massive plantation programs following the recent Phailin cyclone.
In a letter issued to the Forest and Environment Minister of Odisha, WSO secretary and noted environmentalist Dr Biswajit Mohanty has said, “Careless choice of species is a sheer waste of public money as most shallow rooted and exotic trees simply collapse during a cyclone”.
According to the state government, near 26 lakh trees are estimated to have been damaged all over the state. The government has announced plans to carry out plantation of one crore trees in the state for restoration of the damaged tree cover.
Welcoming the move to increase the tree cover and improve the ecological balance of the state, Dr Mohanty in his letter has urged the Forest minister to ensure the right species of trees are chosen before the state government spends crores of rupees on plantations.
“The Forest Department and other associated agencies like OFDC, Municipal Corporations, etc often take up plantations of exotic and fast growing trees to achieve quick and visible results. As a result, we see eucalyptus, acacia, gulmohar, kadamba, casuarina, chakunda, etc being planted all across the state though there could have been a more judicious choice of desirable floral species,” Dr Mohanty has pointed out in his letter.
He has further said, “It would be indeed useful for the department to appreciate the issue of choice of the tree species which are to be planted and accordingly prepare a policy and issue orders to the field formations.Besides, the choice needs to be different when plantations are taken up in urban areas compared to forests.”