Lost World: How the reforestation plan sowed seeds of hope | Delhi News

New Delhi: One of the two nurseries at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary is going through a eureka moment. After much anticipation, permutation and combining botanical facts, one of two seeds obtained from a Guggal plant (Commiphora wightii), a rare specimen, finally germinated.
One of 10 rare species of ‘conservation concern’ in the nation’s capital and a tree that was once part of Delhi’s centuries-old forest system, Guggal has reportedly been wiped out. However, this new sapling and about 1.8 lakh of other 120 species of trees, shrubs, grasses, grasses and vines, which include 69 native species that were either lost, rare or becoming uncommon, gave hope for a possible resurrection of Delhi’s lost flowers. glory.
For this, experts from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the forestry department have a plan. The seed bank that helped germination will be used to plant saplings in a scientific way following an integrated reforestation approach.
Experts said that under this plan, the soil quality and the fertility value of the area will be determined. The sapling would then be planted. These would include 69 native or native species, of which 22 are rare and 10 of conservation concern.
“We have identified land in Devli Asila, Maidan Garhi, Neb Sarai, Bhatti and a few other places. The plots are being prepared and free from any encroachment. We started testing soil health and other factors before marking out the best-suited terrain for a specific tree species. This is done to ensure that the native species, which found it difficult to germinate, grow up healthy. We are trying to restore the lost glory to the forests of Delhi, ”said Sohail Madan of BNHS.
Madan pointed out that previously the plan had been drawn up to regenerate at least 22 native species, such as khair and peelu or miswak, which are very rare in Delhi. His team had to collect seeds from a specimen that enjoys ASI protection at Qutub Minar.
“Later, we increased the number of species and finalized a list of 120 trees, shrubs, grasses, grasses and lianas to give Delhi a floral variety. Of these 120 species, 69 are native and 10 are virtually extirpated from the city. They were once in abundance, but have become scarce over time. For example, Guggal was nearly wiped out not only from Delhi, but from the country. It is very rare in wild or urban forests. Due to its religious values, slaughter occurred on a large scale. It has almost disappeared from India, but is found in Pakistan. We were able to grow it here from a sample in the nursery, ”said Madan, adding that reforestation would start depending on the weather conditions appropriate for each species.
Currently, experts are assessing the health of the soils of more than a hundred sites where plantations will take place. To begin with, botanists test soil type, salinity, pH levels, moisture holding capacity, and attenuation.
Giving the example of the Salai tree (Boswellia serrata), a rare species, experts claimed that a soil with less moisture holding capacity, higher salinity and an upper area was best suited. so that it is cultivated, that too “sporadically”. ”As if growing in the wild.
“Not all the land has been released from encroachment and some has been taken from different departments. Our planning is at an advanced stage and we are working on reconnaissance of the terrain. This is the first reforestation campaign where we establish a relationship between nursery and plantation. The germination of the rare Guggal was an important part of it, ”said Amit Anand, deputy forest conservator (South).

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