How other states will help sow seeds of a greener Delhi

Delhi: 4 April, 2022 (Times of India)


NEW DELHI: As invasion of other species and urbanisation have stripped Delhi of some of its rare native flora, experts are procuring seeds from other states to germinate in the city’s soil, officials have said.The department of forest and wildlife along with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has set up two new nurseries specifically for species dedicated to Aravali, they said.

For procurement of seeds, help has been sought from Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) and Arid Forest Research Institute (AFRI), Jodhpur. Officials have sought the expertise of these institutes to regenerate several native species, which were lost from Delhi’s forests and to train its staff on how to handle the rare seeds.

 “Nurseries are being developed over about three hectares of land in Tughlaqabad. They will have the infrastructure to handle seeds of species that are local to the landscape of Aravali or crucial to Delhi. Our focus is majorly on some of the rare species. For this, we are collecting seeds and since all the seeds are not available in Delhi, experts are procuring some from other states including CAZRI and AFRI in Jodhpur Rajasthan,” said a forest official, who didn’t want to be named.

Officials said they are also focusing on fruit-bearing trees like gular, cluster fig and peepal. “Prime targets are birds and animals like squirrels and monkeys. Gular and peepal have buds and berries, which act as food for these animals,” they said.

According to the forest department, so far, the procurements have been made from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana. Experts said they tied up with the forest department and locals in these states and collected seeds of specific specimen.

“We have gone to these states and collected seeds of some of the rare trees which are very difficult to find in Delhi or have a few specimens left. The procurement happened through nurseries, forests, highways, and other remote areas. So far, over 300 kg seeds have been collected from these states for over ten rare species,” said Sohail Madan, from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).

Some of the species collected from other states include Roheda, Kulu, Salai, Bilangada, Dhawda, and Gugglal. “These species were either not available locally or there were only a few trees left and we could not collect many seeds. So far, seeds of over 70 species have been collected of which 10 to 12 are rare, for example, Rohida is an endangered species,” added Madan.

An official added: “There are certain tree species which are rare, thus it becomes important to handle its seed accordingly. For this, we are planning to train the staff with experts from institutes like CAZRI, and Jodhpur, for proper processing and management of the seeds.”