Embracing a green culture

Mini forests

Embracing a green culture

The concrete jungle that Bengaluru is, it needs more breathing spaces. Environmentalists say the changing weather conditions demand that there be dedicated spaces to enhance the green cover in the city.

The existing mini forests in HBR Layout near Kalyan Nagar, Hebbal, J P Nagar, Jayanagar and Allasandra, just to menton a few, are well-maintained and house some rare species of trees.

   This is a necessity, considering the pivotal role these forests play to help maintain the ecological balance.

     Dr T V Ramachandra of Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, was instrumental in creating a mini forest within the IISc campus.

   He believes that the government must dedicate more areas in the city to develop and conserve these forests. He points out that these huge spaces help maintain a moderate micro climate, assist in groundwater recharge and provide a habitat for wild fauna.

   “Mini forests with native vegetation help in pollination, attract rare spices of birds and also act as noise and dust barriers. A well-managed mini forests is an asset in any locality because it addresses the requirements of all sections and age groups of society,” says Dr T V Ramachandra.

Increasing pollution levels is also one of the reasons why the city needs more of these forests, adds Dr T V Ramachandra. “The city’s population requires at least eight trees per person to take away the respiratory carbon.

The present situation is one tree for seven persons. In order to have at least one tree per person, we need to have mini forests of native vegetation in at least two to five acre spaces,” reasons Ramachandra.  

Supporting Ramachandra’s views is Pawan Mulukutla, program manager –Integrated Transport at WRI India Sustainable Cities and he feels  the concept of mini forests must be popularised. “The city is expanding at a rapid pace, what with new buildings coming up every other month and flyovers being proposed, but we don’t see the green cover growing at the same speed. Land must be set apart for the development of these forests because that will ensure the green cover remains protected,” says Pawan.

Pawan and Ramachandra feel that citizens too must be involved in popularising and promoting the cause of mini forests.  Pawan says, “The public must be involved in this process because this will directly benefit people. Most mini forests have walking paths and places where people can exercise and spend leisure time. Educating people about the benefits of increasing the green cover will go a long way in gathering public support,” he says.

Ramachandra couldn’t agree more and he says, “Awareness among public lets  individuals take the idea forward and they can aid in the maintenance and management of these mini forests.

Citizens need to have a sense of belonging here and make sure that the land mafia does not swallow large tracts of land. The city is also facing a serious water crisis and the increasing temperature necessitates the need for more mini forests and green islands in each locality,” he says.

In light of increasing infrastructural developmental projects leading to trees being cut, citizens too support the concept of mini forests.

 Arun Kumar, a resident of Rajarajeshwari Nagar, says mini forests purify the air and serve as an excellent lung space.

“The city is under the threat of losing its green cover to make way for development. The trees by the road side get axed but large areas set apart for forests will ensure that people don’t tamper with these spaces. The trees within the mini forest cannot be cut at any cost and will stay protected,” says Arun.      
 
Citizens enjoy walking in these forests too. Radhika Jaganath, a resident of Jayanagar who frequents the mini forest in Jayanagar, says  “Mini forests should not be confused with parks. Mini forests have a lot of trees inside and are huge. I don’t miss my walks in the morning because I am eager to visit the place and spend time there almost everyday. We also get to see some rare species of birds in these forests,” she reasons.


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