Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, July 9
The EcoSikh, an NGO, has given a call to plant a million trees in Punjab to mark the celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th birth anniversary. “We wish to revive the forest cover in the state, conserve the flora, fauna and soil to increase the biodiversity manifold,” says Ravneet Singh, a member of the NGO.
The NGO has adopted the Japanese Miyawaki afforestation methodology to transform empty patches into forests. This process imitates the formation of natural jungles. In 10 years, these forests will look like a 100-year-old forest.
The NGO has conducted two surveys of natural forest areas in Punjab to identify 65 native species, which are now being planted in these forests. Some of them are not commonly seen, so these forests will be live-seed banks to revive these diminishing species.
As for the saplings, the Forest Department of Punjab will provide some of the species, while other species are being sourced from private nurseries of neighbouring states, said the EcoSikh forest convener from Mumbai, Charan Singh.
As many as 18 forests have been created and more than 100 are in the process. Natural biomass is being used to rejuvenate the soil to build these forests. Meanwhile, Shubhendu Sharma, the top Indian expert of Miyawaki afforestation methodology, recently visited Ludhiana for EcoSikh’s third state-level volunteer induction day.
Shubhendu said: “India has 2,800 native tree species and only a few are planted conventionally. Punjab has the potential to revive the lost biodiversity and bring back its forests. We, at EcoSikh, are facilitating the process of natural forest restoration using Miyawaki methodology.”
Punjab losing groundwater
Punjab is losing groundwater at the rate of three feet per year in four major cities of Punjab. Ludhiana, Khanna, Gobindgarh and Amritsar are amongst the top 25 most (air) polluted cities of the world. The state is left with only 3.80 per cent of forest cover. Loss of biodiversity has been the biggest threat to Punjab’s vegetation, agriculture, flora and fauna, which can lead to critical climate change situation by 2025.
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