Our Ecosystems : Air

While you are reading this post, one thing is going in & coming out of you right now. Air such an important factor. It is the layer of gases, called Atmosphere, which keeps the Earth warm. Without these gases, the temperature on earth will not be stable.

While the oceans contain most of the Earth's water, water also exists as ice and water vapour. Air is important because it helps water move between these states in a process called as the Water Cycle. We all know that when heated by the sun, surface water evaporates into the air and becomes water vapour. As temperatures drop, water vapour forms clouds as it condenses. Clouds return water to the Earth in the form of rain or snow, usually far from the water source. The water cycle ensures that life around the planet receives the water it needs. It also helps replenish streams, rivers, lakes and other waterways. 

Being such an important resource, do we respect or value the Air we breathe? Not really… It is sad to know that majority of pollution, be it of air, water or soil, is from man-made sources. The single most harmful source of air pollution is the unchecked burning of fossil fuels by human. Fossil fuels are the non-renewable sources of energy such as crude oil, petrol, diesel, coal etc. & are used in almost every process of industrialisation, manufacturing, transport and energy generation. In rural areas, a major source of pollution is the practice of unchecked crop burning. Another source of man-made pollution is military resources such as nuclear arsenal and chemical weaponry.

The consequences of Air Pollution are hazardous and can be fatal too! The pollutants that cause air pollution in our atmosphere are seriously damaging the protective ozone layer. When the ozone layer gets depleted the harmful ultraviolet B radiation reaches the surface of the earth and causes skin cancer and eye damage among humans. The deadly combination of Smoke and Fog, Smog is extremely harmful to humans and the entire environment. It can lead to diseases such as cold, flu, irritation of the eye, asthma and in the long term even lung cancer. Another disaster Acid Rain is caused when a chemical reaction occurs between air pollutants and water & oxygen very high in the atmosphere. Pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide are water soluble and mix with the water in the atmosphere and precipitate as acid rain. The acidic nature of this rain causes severe damage to the plants, animals and the soil.

So how to prevent this catastrophic disaster? & most importantly, how to clean the air??? We will discuss that for sure! But before that, let me tell you another virtue of Air.

Air also plays a vital role in recycling one of Earth’s most important substances: Carbon. Carbon is important because We all are a carbon-based life form and we need it to survive. Carbon sources include fossil fuel combustion, the decay of dead animals and volcanoes. Animals and humans also release carbon dioxide into the air when they breathe. Through the process of photosynthesis, plants extract carbon dioxide from the air and use it to produce energy. They also release oxygen during this process. When people and animals eat the plants, they ingest carbon and produce the energy they need to live. When they die, their bodies decompose, causing carbon to go back into the air as this endless cycle (Carbon Cycle) repeats itself.

Thus, trees are able to absorb Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Carbon monoxide (CO) from our atmosphere and reduce the ‘greenhouse effect’, creating a less polluted, more sustainable world for us and our future generations. It is shown that in one year, an acre of mature native trees absorbs the same volume of carbon monoxide as produced from a 42000 km car journey! Aside from cleaning the air for us, trees supply us with fresh oxygen to breathe. Forests have proven to be an invaluable asset when it comes to improving air quality and reducing harmful pollutant levels in the atmosphere. 

Trees planted in an urban environment can not only counteract the warming effects concrete and buildings have on the environment (known as the Urban heat island effect), but they have also been shown to clean the air and absorb harmful airborne particulates (particularly small particles which are a major health hazard), gaseous pollutants and toxins such as nitrogen oxides, ammonia and sulphur dioxide through their leaves, bark and roots. Trees along urban roads & highways can reduce the presence of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere within a few hundred metres of the roadside verge. This improves the air quality in the microclimate around the trees and contributes to a healthier and cleaner environment overall. This is why we should try our best to ensure that our forests aren’t being lost to deforestation.

We all know that Air contains 21% Oxygen. And the fact we don’t know or underestimate is that Air contains this much oxygen is not because the Earth provided us the atmosphere with that composition, but because trees and plants produced oxygen for over 2 billion of years from Carbon dioxide.

Our Air is a very precious resource. People, animals, plants and birds all depend on clean air to live. Choices we make every day can make a positive difference to our air quality, both indoors and out. Planting native trees is a cost-effective way to tackle urban air pollution, which is a growing problem for many cities. And one must not forget, Trees help us breathe! :)

Our Ecosystems : Soil

A farm, a rain forest or a residential colony..what is the similarity between these three? Well, the answer is that none of these familiar scenes could exist without soil. We simply can not survive without it. Soil is not just ‘what crops grow in’ as we know or not just ‘what full of bacteria’ as we see in soap advertisements; but it is much more besides. The reality is it plays an important role in producing our food, clothing and shelter we need. It also provides a base for our industries and many of our leisure activities. In spite of this dependence, we often treat the soil as if it were an inexhaustible resource which we do not need to care for! We take it for granted!!

Nowadays, most people are more aware of environmental issues. Acid rain, air pollution, global warming, conserving endangered plants and animals, to name but a few, have all received a great deal of attention in recent years. Yet why do we rarely consider that the soil beneath our feet may be affected by an equally diverse range of problems? To many people, soil is just ‘dirt’, something that is used for growing plants in the back garden, or that farmers use for producing crops. But there is far more to soil than this. Without soil, life as we know it simply would not be able to exist. Without a range of soils we would not be able to enjoy so many different habitats, plants and animals, nor would we be able to put the soil to the number of uses that we do to benefit society.

Soil is a vital part of the natural environment. It is just as important as plants, animals, rocks, landforms, lakes and rivers! How?

It harbors all of the plant species and provides a habitat for a wide range of organisms. It controls the flow of water and chemical substances between the atmosphere and the Earth, and acts as both a source and store for gases (like oxygen and carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere. Soils not only reflect natural processes but also record human activities both at present and in the past. It is therefore part of our cultural heritage.

Soil, together with the plant and animal life it supports, its position in the landscape and the climate it experiences, form an amazingly intricate natural system - more powerful and complex than any machine that man has created. Soil may look still and lifeless, but this impression couldn’t be further from the truth. It is constantly changing and developing through time. Soil is always responding to changes in environmental factors, along with the influences of man and land use. Some changes in the soil will be of short duration and reversible, others will be a permanent feature of soil development.

A difficulty with soils being underneath us is that we cannot really see when things are going wrong, as we can when plants and animals disappear or die.

But why we need to know all this?
Soil can look after itself, can’t it?

There is a tendency of humans to assume that everything is ‘all right’. But, in many parts of the world, misuse of the soil has brought about a whole list of major environmental disasters. In both the past and at present, this neglect has led to catastrophic consequences. The effect of drought on over-farmed land is a familiar example, but there is good evidence that the collapse of several ancient civilizations were influenced at least in part by mismanagement of the soil.

Whilst the situation around us is not like this, there are still several issues of concern. Soil erosion, pollution, acidification, loss of fertility and loss of organic matter all occur in different parts of the country. These problems result either directly or indirectly from using inappropriate management techniques on particular soils.

It should be evident that when we talk about nature conservation and environmental protection the well-being of soils must also be a major consideration.

Soil is essential for many of mankind’s activities. Yet it is a part of our environment which is frequently taken for granted. We only start to take notice when it becomes damaged in some way, for example by pollution or erosion.

Even then, the damage to the soil itself is not always the main issue. Instead, it is the follow-on effects on other parts of the environment that receive much of the attention. We must understand that the rate of soil development is extremely slow. It has taken hundreds, thousands and, in some environments, millions of years to produce the range of soils that exist today. The soil is not an unlimited resource to be lost or damaged by poor management as just a few years of inappropriate use can, in some instances, seriously harm a soil which has developed over centuries.

Soils are also home to an amazingly large number of different organisms. In fact, scientists believe that there are probably more individual species living below ground than above the surface. We have as yet only identified a fraction of them. Worms, beetles, caterpillars, ants and larger animals like rodents are all obvious soil creatures. However, just one teaspoon of soil will also contain up to several million protozoa (probably the simplest form of animal life), bacteria, algae and nematodes. Many of these species are vital to the proper functioning of soils.

The life sustaining ability of soil is best understood by appreciating the complex cycles of decay and erosion. Its natural formation occurs in a series of layers starting at the surface but gradating down to the deepest bedrock. The surface layer is where active decomposition begins. Exposure to atmospheric elements, surface warmth and moisture helps to break organic matter into loose mulch like material. At the microscopic level, this layer is teeming with a diversity of bacterial, fungal and algal life forms. In combination with larger organisms like beetles and worms they provide the additional recycling activity to enable minerals and nutrients to be retrieved from the decaying organic matter and returned to the soil. Another family of soil based micro-organisms are involved in relationships that enable plants to absorb nitrogen from their roots.

Ideally the layer directly beneath the surface will be humus rich topsoil. The quality of this topsoil will depend on the amount of organic material available near the surface and the activity of the recycling organisms. So if there is enough of organic matter and organisms, the soil there must be healthy and fertile.

But what do we actually do near our house..?

We don’t want the fallen leaves near our residence. So we either burn the leaves or do not allow the plants to grow there. Burning the garden leaves not only pollute the air & remove the moisture from soil, but it disrupt the soil biology also. We also want our surrounding to be clean and free of dirt. So we cover the soil with garden tiles.  And then, as per our eco-friendly gesture (???), we have no other option but to plant in pots or containers, & to buy the fertile soil from nurseries. If one really want to see how ‘eco-friendly’ this act is, then he/she should visit the site from which the nursery soil comes. The more effective, worthy, easy and cheaper way will be to protect & impregnate the soil we have..!

How?

One of the ways to achive this is by planting native trees on the ground soil and not in the garden pots. Composting and Mulching (the application of organic or inorganic material such as plant debris, compost, etc.) help to slow down the surface run-off, improves the soil moisture, reduces evaporation losses and improves soil fertility.

A coastal rainforest provides almost ideal conditions for the creation of richly fertile topsoil. With increased temperatures and humidity an abundance of organic material reaching the ground begins to decompose almost immediately. It is then broken down by organisms which thrive under the conditions. The entire process is accelerated resulting in a generous layer of finely blended topsoil.

From the perspective of the organic grower, good soil structures need to be protected. This can be achieved by minimizing digging, replacing disrupted layers in their correct order when necessary and renewing surface layers by providing a supply of organic material such as compost and manure. The addition of organic material will improve the water and nutrient holding ability of the soil.

Our future depends on the soil beneath us. In some countries, particularly like United States and Netherlands, soils are believed to be worthy of conservation. Both of these countries have specific legislation to protect soils and the Dutch express this by saying that we should regard ourselves as “guests in our environment, not masters of it”. Soils are far more important to human and environmental well-being than we often give them credit for. Just because they are out of sight, they should not be out of mind!

Our Ecosystems : Water

The Earth is the only planet that is suitable for life in this universe. Life exists because of its interaction with the resources the earth provides. It is this interaction that creates a balance between the living and the non-living resources and sustains both of them. The three most important resources for us is the water we drink, the soil or land we live on and the air we breathe. Without these three resources, we cannot exist.

When pure, it is odorless and tasteless. It is the only substance that is found naturally in all three states. It's in your body, the food you eat and the beverages you drink. You use it to clean yourself, your clothes, your dishes, your car and everything else around you. Many of the products that you use every day either contain it or were manufactured using it. All forms of life need it and if they don't get enough of it, they die. Political disputes have centered around it. In some places, it's treasured and incredibly difficult to get. In others, it's incredibly easy to get and then wasted. It is an essential element to life on Earth. Our Blue planet's most of the surface is covered with lots of it.

Water... We have plenty of it. What if I tell you that we have limited water on our planet like petroleum. I shall thought to be a nut. But the fact is, Earth has less water than you think!

More than 97% of the water on the Earth is salt water. Remaining is categorized as fresh water; about 70% of which is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. The remaining unfrozen freshwater is found mainly as groundwater, with only a small fraction present above ground or in the air.

If you were to take all of the water on Earth - all of the fresh water, sea water, ground water, water vapour and water inside our bodies.. take all of it and somehow collect it into a single, giant sphere of liquid, how big do you think it would be?


According to the US Geological Survey, it would make a ball 1,400 km in diameter. That’s it. And this takes into consideration all the Earth’s water… even the stuff humans can’t drink or directly access, like salt water, water vapour in the atmosphere and the water locked up in the ice caps. If you were to take into consideration only the fresh water on Earth which accessible to humans, you’d get a much smaller sphere of about 56 km across..!

So there is small fraction of water, and we need water for almost everything we do. Agricultural, industrial, household, recreational, environmental activities etc...virtually all of these human uses require fresh water.

Thanks to rain, fresh water is a renewable resource. Yet the world's supply of clean, fresh water is steadily decreasing. Water demand already exceeds supply in many parts of the world and as the world population continues to rise, so does the water demand too.

Day-by-day demand keeps growing, further draining water sources, from great rivers to underground aquifers. We are going deeper & deeper into soil for groundwater, and that has very significant impacts for global water security. Groundwater resources have been heavily over-used worldwide. The rate of groundwater depletion has doubled in last 4 decades. Still we are pumping many of the aquifers out faster than they are recharged. Somehow, we need to bring withdrawals into balance with recharge.

Summer comes to India every year. Along with it comes water crisis. As our rivers start running dry a way before summer, Water is becoming a cause for social conflicts. Recently you might have noticed a survey in newspaper & media showing global water shortages that will be particularly felt in India and China. Rainfall patterns altered by climate change and worsened by inequity in the water distribution system has led to a water crisis in the Central India and many other parts. The poorest areas are being affected the most because of inequitable water distribution. If this isn't a wake-up call of what water scarcity can do to a society, may God bless us!

Is there any solution for these Water Wars..?

Rain, of course!

Water in rivers, lakes, ponds and wells, underground water, tap water & even bottled water..The source of all water is Rain.

Let us apply this understanding: in order to meet demand, then, what we actually need to do is harvest the rain. In India the monsoon is brief. We get about 100 hours of rain in a year. It is this 100-hour bounty that must be caught, stored and used over the 8,760 hours that make up a year.

But..

In urban areas, the construction of houses, societies, footpaths and roads has left very little exposed earth for water to seep in. In parts of the rural areas of India, floodwater quickly flows to the rivers, which then dry up soon after the rains stop. Furthermore, floodwater also cause erosion.

How to harvest Rain???

We have to catch water where it falls.

In the forests, water seeps gently into the ground due to roots of the trees. This groundwater in turn feeds wells, lakes, and rivers. Protecting forests means protecting water catchments. In ancient India, people believed (and the modern science has proved) that forests are the 'mothers' of rivers and must be worshipped the sources of these water bodies. Flora also prevent floods.

Planting of trees, grass and bushes breaks the force of rain and helps rainwater penetrate the soil. It slows down run-off and minimizes evaporation losses. Shelter belts of trees and bushes along the edge of agricultural fields can help water seep into the ground and recharge the groundwater supply. They also slow down the wind speed and reduce evaporation and erosion.

Implementation of Urban rain water harvesting systems has proved to be effective in recharging the aquifers. The CSE Water Campaign, when it looks into the future, sees only hope. From rain will come local food security. From rain will come biomass-wealth that will eradicate ecological poverty. From rain will come social harmony..!

Water is a precious resource, not a commodity. But we need to understand that every drop is important or someday, we will be forced to pay heavily for it...

World Environment Day!

One more Environment Day has gone. Few more events of tree plantation, some award functions for working for environment and few speeches by influential people about our degrading environment..that's it! So we have done our bit for nature and till next 5th June, we need not worry about our environment. This is all what the Environment Day mean to us. But actually, there is much more beyond that..!

Let us try something different this time... Go and trail round your neighborhood garden or forest and explore. This is the best time to see trees, loaded with fruits or pods; like Mango, NeemJava Plum, Indian Coral tree, Mahua etc. Identify and collect seeds from the many different trees that grow naturally in your area. You may plant few seeds. You may even stock up them for the next year.

Planting a tree seed is the smallest thing but possibly the grandest gesture you can do today..! It can be a pip from a Golden Apple, a samara from an Indian Rosewood or a winged seed from Drumstick tree. Monsoon is all set to arrive. The rain brings new life..especially for trees. This season, seeds are eager to sprout, dreaming to become a tree and trees tend to grow at higher speed.

All you have to do is make sure they are the seeds of trees that found naturally or native to the place in which you live. Your one single action gains significance as it grows.

Just remember and make sure that you plant it where it won't be causing problem for anyone in future. After all, in a few years we don't want someone cutting down what you have so carefully sown all those years ago. Planting near your home, on a private land or alongside of the roads might be fair enough.

Doing small things can achieve big things. The very seed you planted in the soil is proof of that. A living example of how from small things even greater things emerge and grow..! :)

Each one of us has a place and a role to play in the incredible web of life and each one of us can make a difference.

Let this be the idea, the thought, perhaps the hope that you can do something for environment..and for ourselves. That you can help to maintain our ecosystem. An ecosystem is not made up only of living components like animals, plants, microbes etc, but also of non-living components like water, soil, sun-light, atmosphere etc; respectively known as Biotic and Abiotic components. Our next few posts will be dedicated to understanding the inter-relation of these abiotic factors with the biotic ones. It will be one more step to know the ecosystem we live in, better.

We TWO!

In the soaring heat of May, we are experiencing a cool breeze. How? Yes, here are we again..celebrating Gifting Trees...'s second anniversary.

Marking the two years of Gifting Trees, we are adding a new segment in conserving native trees... Tree Rescue!


This is the status of our sacred native trees, isn't it? WE all, educated illiterates (पढ़ेलिखे गवार, साक्षर अनाडी) are busy in widening our highways, we are moving to big cities. And so we are cutting these trees which were planted by our forefathers. But we can't see the importance of our sacred native trees. May be hence we are habituated to plant introduced trees. But Mother Nature haven't..! She knows what's right and what's wrong. She keeps trying to plant these sacred trees with the help of birds.

But do we allow to grow trees on our walls or midway on the roads? No, we cut them. But there is another way to have these blessings of Mother Nature. We just have to transplant these saplings to a right place where the sapling can take roots freely and flourish. For example, Banyan, Peepal, Cluster Figs are species which can be seen growing on walls, buildings. Eventually either the growing saplings die due to lack of water/space or are cut/removed by humans for obvious reason. What we can do is just to transplant them carefully alongside of roads, near residential area or near a temple.

Similarly at the end of summer or just in the beginning of rains, trees like Neem, Jamun, Pongam, Ber etc have numerous seedlings grown beneath them due to their fallen fruits/seeds. Practically, it is very difficult to survive & grow under a big tree and its not advisable to just let these seedlings grow, especially in urban areas. These seedlings can easily be transferred to polybags to grow and then can be used for plantation.

We two, my father and me, have rescued about 45 saplings/seedlings till date and successfully planted few of them too! Also as today is our 2nd anniversary, we are pleased to announce that in this last year, we have planted (and grown) 18 saplings and taken care of them along with those of the previously planted.

5th May also is the Climate Impacts Day. Is that a co-incidence?! Lets Come together and Connect the dots.

Nakshatra is Forever!

The concept of adoption of a plant is been derived from Indian cultural history. The Indian astrology is based on the concept of Nakshatras (Constellations) and Rashis (as per moon signs). There are in all 27 Nakshatras present in a year and every individual has a Nakshatra assigned to him/her depending on the date and time on which he/she is born (the tithi).

Every Nakshatra has a symbolic tree or plant that defines its connection with eternal nature. In our Indian culture there was a tradition that whenever a baby is born in someone’s home, that person was supposed to plant a tree of the same Nakshatra on which the baby was born. The person was supposed to take care of the tree as his child because it was believed that the more good and healthy the tree will grow, it will prosper more health and happiness to the child.

If these trees have been assigned to the 27 nakshatras by the Vedic Rishis, than it will be worthwhile for us to know which tree belongs to our Janma Nakshatra (Birth Constellation) and to have some idea about its medicinal values or other applications.

So the presence of the complete set of 27 trees directly creates a healthy and sound physical, mental, psychological and spiritual beings; which is the ultimate and absolute bliss to oneself and to the Earth too!

Trees corresponding to Nakshtras and Rashis :

Sr. No. : 1
Nakshatra Name : Ashwini
Moon Sign : Aries
Lord : Ketu
Tree/Plant : Strychnine tree, Poison Nut (कुचला)
Latin Name : Strychnous Nux-Vomica
It is important medicinal tree which has its mention in ancient system of medicine. The seeds of ripe fruit are poisonous, hence the name. 

Sr. No. : 2
Nakshatra Name : Bharani
Moon Sign : Aries
Lord : Venus
Tree/Plant : Amla, Indian Gooseberry (आवळा)
Latin Name : Phyllanthus Emblica

Sr. No. : 3
Nakshatra Name : Kritika
Moon Sign : Aries
Lord : Sun
Tree/Plant : Cluster Fig (औदुंबर)
Latin Name : Ficus Racemosa
The Rashi tree for Aries is Red Sandalwood (Pterocarpus Santalinus/रक्तचंदन). Being a rare species, plantation of this tree has its importance. It has tremendous medicinal properties and is mentioned number of times in Ayurveda. This tree is believed to purify air from toxic substances.

Sr. No. : 4
Nakshatra Name : Rohini
Moon Sign : Taurus
Lord : Moon
Tree/Plant : Jamun, Java Plum (जांभूळ)
Latin Name : Syzygium Cumini

Sr. No. : 5
Nakshatra Name : Mrig
Moon Sign : Taurus
Lord : Mars
Tree/Plant : Cutch tree (खैर)
Latin Name : Acacia Catechu

The Rashi tree for Taurus is Scholar tree (Alstonia Scolaris/सप्तपर्णी). It is an elegant fast-growing evergreen tree. With or without flowering, it is equally beautiful. It has many medicinal properties to its name. It is often planted as an ornament. 

Sr. No. : 6
Nakshatra Name : Ardra
Moon Sign : Gemini
Lord : Rahu
Tree/Plant : Black Ebony, Tendu (टेंभूर्णी, तेंदू)
OR
Krushnagus
Latin Name : Diospyros Melanoxylon
OR
Aquillaria Agalocha

Sr. No. : 7
Nakshatra Name : Punarvasu
Moon Sign : Gemini
Lord : Jupiter
Tree/Plant : Velu
Latin Name : Bambusa Arundinacea
It is basically a fast-growing type of grass which provide shelter place to many small birds. Its medicinal virtues are often neglected by gardeners who consider it as a messy plant. Actually speaking, it provide good quantity of mulch.

The Rashi tree for Gemini is Pala-Indigo tree (Wrightia Tinctoria/काळा-कुडा). Locally, it is also known as Dudhi.

Sr. No. : 8
Nakshatra Name : Pushya
Moon Sign : Cancer
Lord : Saturn
Trees/Plant : Peepal, Sacred Fig (पिंपळ)
Latin Name : Ficus Religiosa



Sr. No. : 9
Nakshatra Name : Ashlesha
Moon Sign : Cancer
Lord : Mercury
Trees/Plant : Beauty Leaf tree, Alexandrian Laurel (नागचाफा, उंडी)
Latin Name : Calophylum Inophyllum
It is an evergreen beautiful tree which tolerates variety of soils. It has fragrant flowers & is often planted for ornamental purpose. The oil extracted from the seeds is used as Biodiesel in USA & Europe.

The Rashi tree for Cancer is Palash (Butea Monosperma/पळस)

Sr. No. : 10
Nakshatra Name : Magha
Moon Sign : Leo
Lord : Ketu
Trees/Plant : Banyan (वड, वट)
Latin Name : Ficus Benghalensis



Sr. No. : 11
Nakshatra Name : Poorva Phalguni
Moon Sign : Leo
Lord : Venus
Trees/Plant : Palash, Parrot tree (पळस)
Latin Name : Butea Monosperma

Sr. No. : 12
Nakshatra Name : Uttara Phalguni
Moon Sign : Leo
Lord : Sun
Trees/Plant : Payari
Latin Name : Ficus Arnottiana

The Rashi tree for Leo is Indian Jujube, Indian Plum (Ziziphus Mauritiana/बोर).

Sr. No. : 13
Nakshatra Name : Hasta
Moon Sign : Virgo
Lord : Moon
Trees/Plant : Jaai
Latin Name : Jasminum Grandiflora

Sr. No. : 14
Nakshatra Name : Chitra
Moon Sign : Virgo
Lord : Mars
Trees/Plant : Bael, Golden Apple (बेल)
Latin Name : Aegle Marmalos

The Rashi tree for Virgo is Mango (Mangifera Indica/आंबा)

Sr. No. : 15
Nakshatra Name : Swati
Moon Sign : Libra
Lord : Rahu
Trees/Plant : Arjun (अर्जुन)
Latin Name : Terminalia Arjuna

Sr. No. : 16
Nakshatra Name : Vishakha
Moon Sign : Libra
Lord : Jupiter
Trees/Plant : Nagkesar (नागकेसर) OR Wood Apple (कवठ, कैट)
Latin Name : Mesua Ferrea OR Limonia Acidissima

The Rashi tree for Libra is Indian Medler (Mimusops Elengi/बकुळ)

Sr. No. : 17
Nakshatra Name : Anuradha
Moon Sign : Scorpio
Lord : Saturn
Trees/Plant : Nagkesar (नागकेसर)
Latin Name : Mesua Ferrea

Sr. No. : 18
Nakshatra Name : Jyeshta
Moon Sign : Scorpio
Lord : Mercury
Trees/Plant : Semal, Red Silk-Cotton Tree (सावरी)
Latin Name : Bombax Ceiba

The Rashi tree for Scorpio is Indian Catechu (Acacia Catechu/खैर)

Sr. No. : 19
Nakshatra Name : Mool
Moon Sign : Sagittarius
Lord : Ketu
Trees/Plant : Salai
Latin Name : Boswellia Serrata


Sr. No. : 20
Nakshatra Name : Poorvashadha
Moon Sign : Sagittarius
Lord : Venus
Trees/Plant : Rattan Cane
Latin Name : Calamus Pseudotenuis (वेत)
It is a strong climber which has clustered stems. It usually need a support to climb.

Sr. No. : 21
Nakshatra Name : Uttarashadha
Moon Sign : Sagittarius
Lord : Sun
Trees/Plant : Jackfruit (फणस)

The Rashi tree for Sagittarius is Peepal (Ficus Religiosa/पिंपळ)

Sr. No. : 22
Nakshatra Name : Shravan
Moon Sign : Capricorn
Lord : Moon
Trees/Plant : Crown Flower (रुइटी, आक)
Latin Name : Calotropis Gigantea



Sr. No. : 23
Nakshatra Name : Dhanishtha
Moon Sign : Capricorn
Lord : Mars
Trees/Plant : Indian Mesquite, Khejri tree (शमी)
Latin Name : Prosopis Cineraria

The Rashi tree for Capricorn is Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia Sissoo/शिसम).

Sr. No. : 24
Nakshatra Name : Shatatarka
Moon Sign : Aquarius
Lord : Rahu
Trees/Plant : Kadam, Common Bur Flower (कदंब)
Latin Name : Neolamarckia Cadamba


Sr. No. : 25
Nakshatra Name : Poorvabhadrapada
Moon Sign : Aquarius
Lord : Jupiter
Trees/Plant : Mango (आंबा)
Latin Name : Mangifera Indica

The Rashi tree for Aquarius is Indian Mesquite (Prosopis Cineraria/शमी)

Sr. No. : 26
Nakshatra Name : Uttarabhadrapada
Moon Sign : Pisces
Lord : Saturn
Trees/Plant : Neem (कडुनिंब)
Latin Name : Azadirachta Indica



Sr. No. : 27
Nakshatra Name : Revati
Moon Sign : Pisces
Lord : Mercury
Trees/Plant : Mahua, Mohwa (मोह, मोहवा)
Latin Name : Madhuca Latifolia

The Rashi tree for Pisces is Banyan tree (Ficus Benghalensis/वड)

It is believed that the tree of Nakshatra in which the person is born gives strength to him. I don't say that it should be believed, or for that matter astrology as such, but Nakshatra Vana (forest) is an attractive idea and a way to encourage growing trees.

May we all believe in astrology or not, we will definitely agree to one simple thing that this concept of plant adoption was one of the very smartly planned conservation strategy by our ancestors. Today looking at our 'selfish' and 'just consume' attitude towards the whole-n-sole of our life - Mother Nature, we find it really necessary to rejuvenate and spread this concept of adopting at least one plant per person..!

We and Trees : Faunal Association

A garden which is not inhabited by birds, bees or animals is a waste one. This might happen if these creatures are not used to have food or shelter from trees, shrubs in that garden. Some call it a green desert, but I personally, don't like the terminology; as even a desert is a good habitat for number of flora and fauna.

With the bad experience from the introduced trees, we started planting natives. And we were amazed to see that how nature finds her way. If one chooses the flora wisely, fauna has to be attracted to the place; even in the midst of a concrete jungle.

Here are few photographs of our neighbours... :)

















Urbanites usually fell Babool, Ber trees, if any in their residential area; but these trees attracts wide number of bird species. We have to keep in mind that these are our native trees which are since ages, serving not only birds & animals, but serving us also.

One habit urbanites have, which they assume good & tidy. They never allow the soil beneath trees to breath. I mean, they usually cover it with tiles or concrete. Nowadays, unlike villages, every inch of the land is covered up. So they prefer pots for plantation or if they happen to plant one in the ground, they leave hardly any space around the tree. And then, every morning they have to clean the 'garbage' of dried or shed leaves from the tree. Is this at all make any sense?!

We need to understand that, every small-sized planted tree should have area of at least 2 by 2 feet. That way, the shed leaves will fall on the soil and will help enriching it giving all the nutrients the tree will ever need. The leaves will attract insects, insects in turn will attract birds & reptiles. Also during monsoon, the soil will help in increasing the ground water level. There is always a balance in every sector of Nature. But somehow, this balance is tampered by us only, isn't it?!