The good news is that the green cover in India has increased by 1%, as per satellite data. That is just the silver lining. The bad news is that this growth has happened over demarcated forests, which means a lot of it could be increased agriculture. The effect on more trees in the country is not helping the birds and bees population in the country which is headed towards a rapid decline. Fiona Vaz talks to Mohan Prasath, Founder of Aeon charitable trust and Activist for Butterflies, about what more can be done to improve it.
Government reports say that the green cover has gone in the country. Is that good news for bird and bee population?
The increase in tree cover that governments talk about is urban tree cover. We are witnessing the destruction of pristine habitats. Bees in urban areas are reducing as there are not many plants which help them produce honey.
Urban forestry largely focusses on ‘number of trees’ and curbing of pollution. But it seldom focusses on nesting and pollination needs of birds. Mostly Delonix Regia (Gulmohar ) is preferred as it grows fast. But it only provides nesting material to kites in urbanscape. There is less focus on Ficus, Bombax, which is not helping the cause of birds and bees. Also, if bees find a space in the urbanscape, they are not tolerated for long.
3) How should the green cover in order to make a meaningful impact on animals?
In fact, the green cover exercise in Maharashtra is doing more harm than good. Grasslands and semi-arid Savannah lands of Deccan are getting planted with trees which have never sustained in that area. It will harm native grassland species like francolins, Quails, Bonelli’s eagle, Indian Hare and Fox etc.
Green cover to me is leaving chunks of land masses undisturbed, and let nature reclaim them in whatever ways.
4) What are the areas in India that are lacking in for birds and bees to thrive in the country?
It is lacking in variety of trees. There is also downsizing of trees in the name of maintenance.
There is also a lack of botanical gardens. Every 5 Sq km should have one botanical garden with a variety of trees. This can offer food, nesting and combing for bees and birds.
Passionate about writing, Fiona is best known for her features and abstract writing. A sports lover, an avid shopaholic and a travel freak, Fiona expresses thoughts through words and considers herself totally opinionated, and rightfully so!