1. Enumeration of urban trees and preparation of tree diversity database in BBMP areas
2. Identification of unhealthy trees and assessment of associated risk.
More than half of world’s population i.e. 3.3 billion people are presently living in urban areas. By 2030, this is expected to rise to almost five billion. While the world’s urban population grew very rapidly from 220 million to 2.8 billion over the 20th century, by 2030, the towns and cities of developing world will make up 80 percent of urban humanity (state of world population 2007).
Urban trees can help to mitigate some of the negative impacts and social consequences of urbanization, and thus make cities more resilient to these changes (FAO, 2016 (http://www.fao.org/zhc/detail-events/en/c/454543/). Trees in urban areas help to clean the air by “catching” airborne pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and small particulates less than 10 microns in size. Planting trees remains one of the cheapest and most effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. There may be up to a 60% reduction in street level particulates with trees (https://www.ecology.com/2012/10/31/benefits-urban-trees/).
The trees in urban areas increase the quality of life of its residents. Environmental services of urban forests are climate and air quality improvement, energy savings, reduction of global warming and carbon dioxide, noise abatement, water conservation, soil conservation, solid waste and land reclamation, and nature conservation – wildlife habitat and biodiversity. The degeneration of living environment in urban areas is largely due to new housing and townships, electrification, metro rails, widening of roads, automobiles etc. As a result, the balance of urban climate has been disrupted and most of the vegetation has been destroyed to make way for the so-called ‘urban development’ (Chakre, 2006).
Tree census significance:
The tree census is an important scientific, technical, and educational effort. The results enable us to characterize the tree population in terms of its structure, function, and value. This information is used in a variety of ways, including management and enables daily and strategic decision-making based on the composition, condition and distribution of trees. It helps in tracking the changes that have occurred in the landscape, predicting/analyzing the changes in the study area apart from providing information to maintain the areas with adequate trees. Tree census provides information on adaptable species to the particular environment and the species which are tolerant to the changing environments. It also provides information on intolerant species, which can be avoided in future planting activities.
How problem originated:
Bengaluru, popularly known as `Garden City’, is India’s fourth largest city having population of around 12.5 Million in 2018 (Indiapopulation 2019.com). The official city area was 226 km2 under the erstwhile Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BMP) which expanded to 716 km2 in 2007 with the creation of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). A recent study from Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bengaluru says that, lakes and trees that dwelled and surrounded our city have quietly disappeared as a result of the urban sprawl. The large number of public open spaces diminished over the years. As the city grew over space and time, inner areas got more crowded and congested. Initiatives to ease congestion on road networks have led to axing numerous road-side trees.
The trees in the city thrive the fast development and giving living environment to the people but now undergo difficult period. The trees lifetime is reduced due to lopping, damaging of roots by digging of pits, pollarding of trees to give aesthetic look to the sky-high building and getting infected by the manual damages. This leads the tree to fall on buildings, vehicles and people and at times taking away the life of the people. By understanding the importance of maintaining the tree diversity in city, protecting the trees and the life of the people, Bengaluru Municipal Corporation (BBMP) has taken up the steps to do tree census. With the intervention of Honorable High court of Karnataka, the activity is speeded up and BBMP asked the Institute of Wood Science and Technology, Bengaluru to take up the tree census work in the project format