'Tree planting event? Its all crap!!'

"These tree plantation events is the work of idle people, seeking ways to become famous." This is how majority of people, especially elders think about the tree planting enthusiasts. And unfortunately, they are not completely wrong!

I have seen or heard of many groups & campaigns which plant trees alongside roads. Sometimes near schools with the help of school children. I agree, its very good act to teach & explain the importance of trees to the future of our nation, school children. But what about the maintenance of plants? Many times the volunteer students watch them dying due to lack of care it deserves. Ever thought, what impression would it have on those children's mind?!

During this monsoon, one such group planted near about 80 well-grown saplings as avenue trees. Fortunately, due to good rain, not many died down due to lack of water. But that's not the single reason for sapling's death.. Want to know, what happened to them in last few weeks?

Many died due to building works in progress in the area. And many due to storage of the construction material. These builders are not going to care for the plants unless you do.. The saplings can easily be stamped out by workers or stray animals if planted without a tree-guard.
(The brown line represents the died saplings)

The sapling tends to attract grazing animals. So after, say two-three weeks, one can only find weed flourishing there.
What a waste of a well-grown sapling if it is being eaten by stray animals!
Can you spot the Amla plant in the adjacent picture?
Weed can also create a problem for a growing sapling as they compete the plant for water, nutrition & space.

The purpose of these pictures is not to discourage the planting events or to show the mistakes of other tree enthusiasts; but to make them realize the condition of their plants if not taken care of...

Some might ask,"Why didn't I take care of them instead of just photographing?"
Well, yes I did..as much as I could... But how long they could have survived without a tree-guard!

If you want the planted sapling to survive & grow, you have to get the local community residing near the plantation area involved. Just going somewhere, planting saplings without involvement of local community and having number of photographic sessions for publicity is not going to work. Rather, it haven't till date!

The Nashik Municipal Corporation do have or can arrange for the requisites for tree-plantation easily. So do they plant & grow the saplings successfully?
Unfortunately NO!

Many times, NMC workers literally don't use their head before planting. They are usually provided with a target and they just want to finish it off. Have a look at this picture.. It clearly shows that they have planted wrong trees, Royal Poinciana at wrong place, in a private land! (The black line represents the extent of private land)
The only effect of this plantation was the plot owner fenced his land the next morning!

Nashik nature lovers objected markedly to the issue of cutting trees for widening the National Highway-3. But no one seems to care about the species of saplings planted now for compensation. Our sacred 100-200 years old Peepal and Banyan trees are being replaced by Copperpod & Royal Poinciana! Its crap for sure!!

Its time not to wait for someone to plant trees or just to blame others. Its time to act now! Here are few suggestions to follow before tree plantation..

1. First & foremost, you should know at least one person from the area you are planning for tree plantation so that he/she can water & look after the trees till they mature and inform us about their progress. If not possible, then try and arrange the plantation event in a area which is easily accessible to you.

2. Before plantation, you should be ready with the tree-guards or fencing. Without these, its of no use as it is going to attract lots of grazing animals.

3. You should visit the place periodically to check for weeds and pests if any.

'Gifting Trees...' is working hard enough to achieve the pre- and post-requisites before any plantation. Its all right if you plant less, but if you are planting a tree, then you have to take the responsibility of growing the tree also..This is our motto. Because everything will go waste otherwise..

So next time when you plan a tree plantation event, do something for maintenance of saplings also instead of just showing off. Take the responsibility of planting & growing a native tree.. Take it as a challenge! Then only you will make a difference..!

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