Monday, May 19, 2014

Interesting Tree Projects from Around the World - Delhi - 'The Forest City'

Since the late 1990’s, the populous city of New Delhi in India has endeavoured to make Delhi a greener and more environmentally friendly place by restoring its diminishing forests to their former glory.

The city had lost much of its original forest to rampant urbanisation as well as through vandalism and neglect, with the result that large portions of the forest area had been destroyed or had deteriorated to such a great extent as to become wasteland. The damage had reached such huge proportions that in 1997, only 26 sq. km. of green cover remained.

Through the implementation of ambitious tree planting initiatives such as the ‘City Plants a Million Trees’ campaign and the hard work of the forestry department, the Isha Foundation and The New Delhi Municipal Corporation and Parks and Gardens department, the city managed to double the extent of the forest areas from 151 sq. km. in 2001 to 296.2 sq. km. by 2011.

Every year, through sheer hard work and dedication, the forest area increases significantly. By the end of 2012 the forested area had increased to 310 sq. km. and again in 2013 literally hundreds of thousands of tree saplings were planted making this one of the largest and most dynamic environmental greening initiatives in the world.

As the forest areas increase, birds and small wildlife return to the city, in fact, Delhi now boasts some 450 bird species within the city. Only Nairobi in Kenya which borders on the Serengeti National Park hosts more bird species within the city.

The citizens of Delhi are encouraged to take part in various tree planting initiatives and the city supplies the public with free tree saplings. Areas that are to be planted are cleaned, weeded, tilled, fertilised and watered before planting takes place.

After three years, the newly established forest begins to take care of itself and after five years the maturing woodland becomes completely self sustaining, supporting wildlife and providing welcome ‘lungs’ in the city as well as shade.

Although Delhi remains a city of congested traffic and masses of people, the green initiative is growing and is gradually overcoming the destruction caused by irresponsible urbanisation and land use through education, preservation and restoration of its green heritage.


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