Why trees ?

You can help at least

• Producing 236 Kg of oxygen each year
• Absorb 44 Kg of CO2 each year
• Produce enough oxygen to support 4 human lives for a year


Has your city also lost its green cover over the past decade? The metropolitan cities across the worldhave seen the trees disappearingat an alarmingly fast rate. As much as 50,000 tress have been axed down in Bangalore alone in the last4-5 years, according to official records. The urbanites are already facing the wrath of thesedeleterious acts. One such, oftenneglected consequence is therapidextension of “UrbanHeat Islands”.

Urban Heat Islands

Urban Heat Island refers to a metropolitan area that is relatively warmer than the surrounding country side. This phenomena leads to apparent rise in mercury level at night, coercing peopleinto spending a sizeable amount on electricity cost. More energy consumption in turn leads to ahotter climate as a significant portion of energy comes from burning non-renewable sources ofenergy such as coal and natural gas. Heat island effect can be primarily attributed to the waste.

Heat generated from the cars and buses plying on the road. Dense built up areas and declininggreen covers are some of the other contributing factors to this man made hazard. The last fewyears have seen a meteoric rise in built up area at the cost of green cover. “Considering the factthat concrete absorbs heat and later radiates it, contrary to trees which reflect it back into theenvironment, urban areas tend to be hotter”, says Monsingh Devdas, Dean School of Planningand Architecture, Anna University. What’s more, the UHIs oftendeteriorate the ambient airbecause of the staggering amount of air pollutants being pumped into the environment.

How to mitigate heat island phenomenon?

Unplanned construction causes a redistribution of shortwave radiation at the earth’s surface,thereby generating localized heat fluxes that tend to heat up a place. To add to it, the on-goinggreen cover enhancement projects are often carried out with a lack of vision. Consequently, thetrees merely stand as green components, rather than helping the environment.Spatial arrangement of trees is the best way to mitigate the effects of heat island phenomenon. Astudy carried out to examine the cooling effects of trees revealed that trees planted in open areaswere more effective in mitigating heat fluxes than those planted in close proximity to buildings.This outcome can be ascribed to trees arresting maximum amount of solar radiation, whenplanted in open lands. Another study has found that 10 % rise in tree cover can reduce theambient air temperature by 0.22° C. All these results validate that planting trees clearly minimizessensible heat release into the environment.

Strategic tree plantation

“Trees are indispensable. As the biggest living things inhabiting Our planet, they bless us with two of the essential things-food and Oxygen. Trees form the backbone of communities giving them their unique character and sense of pride. It is in the cool shade of this dense canopy of trees that children get their first tryst with nature.That they add value to environment and ecology is reason enoughto plant and care for trees.”

Strategic tree plantation refers to a practice of growing species of trees which are best suited for a particular section. To achieve this, the entire region is segregated into landscape segmentsbased on homogeneity in terms of Soil ph, climatic conditions and topography. Once the sectionsare identified, the planting species are determined based on shape, foliage and growth rate. Thetree plantation strategy embodies a holistic approach to ameliorate visual and environmental

Quality. Additionally, landscaping enhances the aesthetic value and creates green spaces foroutdoor activities around an accommodation.

Plants for different Soil Types

Have you tried planting a sapling which simply doesn’t bothers to thrive? One of the possible reasons could be your soil type. We all have different soil types depending on our area ofhabitation. Soil, a blend of powdered rocks, organic matter, liquids and myriads organism, is oneof the major life sustaining resources, like air and water. In the Vedic periods, the soils wereclassified as either Fertile or sterile but in the modern era, a number of factors-texture, colour,

Moisture content- is taken into account to identify the soil type.

How can I Identify my Soil Type?

Soil type refers to the proportion of clay, sand, silt and organic material contained in it. Identifying the soil types allows us to choose the suitable plants for our region. Following are the types of soil
Along with the list of plants it can support:

Clay Soil

Clay soils are characterized by minute mineral particles which minimizes the air space in soils. Hence, it retains maximum amount of water owing to its larger surface area. One can easilyidentify clay soils as it feels very sticky, shiny and smudges your hand.

Silt Soil

Silt soils contain smaller percentage of sand and clay particles and are relatively more free draining than clay soils. It is commonly found in flood plain and makes a perfect farming terrain.
You can differentiate a silt soil from clay soil as it feels smooth rather than sticky.

Plants Plant Type Ph Level Features
Acer Tree Less than 7.0 Attractive Foliage
Crab Apple Tree 6.0-7.5 Enhances aesthetics of lawn, fruit
Magnolia Tree 7.0 Leaves remain evergreen
Berberis Shrub 3.7-6.2 Used in traditional medicines
Rose Shrub 6.0-6.9 Symbol of love and affection, Used for decoration

Sandy Soil

Sandy soil is comprised of the largest particles among the various soil types. It is very ineffective in holding water and therefore is more prone to be affected by the runoff. The only advantage of sandy soil is that it is easy to work and cultivate with.

Plants Plant Type Ph Level Features
Eucalyptus Tree 4.5-7.5 Sources of Eucalyptus oil
Juniper Tree 5.0-6.0 Its timber is used for making pencils
Rosemary Shrub 6.0-7.5 Possesses aromatic and medicinal properties

Incorporating a tree plantation strategy

Now that we are aware of the environmental impacts of reckless human activities, it’s time to appreciate and honour our trees by switching to smart and innovative ideas of tree plantation. Here are some of the pointers that will help you paint the city green:

Plant the right tree in the right place

The act of planting a tree is a gratifying experience in itself. However, it should not be carried out in haste without thoughtful planning.Planting a tree that is indigenous to your area increases the chances of its survival. This is because native trees have better resistance to diseases and pestattack.

Promoting community participation

‘Adopt-a-tree program’ is a concept which aims to harness the support of the local communities to plant and care for trees in their formative years. When an individual adopts a tree heacknowledges the role of trees in enhancing the quality of environment and thereby commits to Water, weed and monitor the trees while they firmly establish strong roots.

Tracking and monitoring the health of trees

Healthy trees are more effective in mitigating environmental impacts. The main objective of a tree monitoring program is to provide a quantitative database of tree growth in terms of tree height and stem diameter. This record helps in assessing the tree health at different points in its growingcycle, thereby ensuring the overall health of trees.

Bringing NGOs in the ambit of tree plantation drives

We are all aware of the role of NGOs in galvanizing public support for environmental causes. Working in cooperation with NGOs helps in expanding the plantation campaign up to the grassroots of society. Besides, it makes people aware of the issues facing the environment and anaware citizen in turn feels more inclined to make pro-environmental choices.