Sad, a tree can’t bark

A fully grown tree, once cut, fetches up to Rs.25,000.

If all the fully grown trees in the country were to be cut, and sold, we can generate enough money to feed several crore poor households for at least a year.

The money generated will also give a major boost to our GDP.

A novel and wonderful way to tackle poverty!

However, what will we do the next year? With no more trees to chop, at least that source of income will be gone!

Instead, what we’ll have are higher levels of global warming, droughts, floods, uneven rain and of course the entire Indian humanity of 1.2 billion people gasping for oxygen.

On the positive side, we’ll have wide roads, a lot more cars and prosperity. We’ll also have a lot more C02, rather, we’ll be inundated with CO2!

It certainly doesn’t seem to be such a good idea to cut trees.

Here are a few facts we must re-visit:
  1. A fully grown tree, about 20 years old, produces oxygen worth Rs.3 crore a year! (See box for calculation). A living tree contributes 1,200 times more in just a single year than what a dead tree fetches. Over its lifetime, assuming a life of span of 40 years, a typical tree can contribute Rs.125 crores worth of oxygen. Thus, letting us live, and live.
  2. A tree also eats up CO2, reducing carbon footprint. One acre of trees annually consumes the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to that produced by driving an average car for 40,000 kms. Or, equivalent of burning 4500 liters of gasoline (petrol or diesel).  A type of ash tree (Melia azedarach) is the best performer: ten trees on a street are able to offset CO2 from 10,373 vehicles per year
  3. A tree holds even greater value in a poor and hot country like ours. Sit under its shade to escape sunlight and heat. Light breeze cools the air, especially useful in absence of power, which his often.  Sidewalks lined by trees let people walk in comfort, and rest when tired.Actually, the logic of preserving trees is so simple that it even a moron can’t miss it.

Yet…

Some of the smartest and most intelligent members of our administrative machinery don’t get it. They want to cut trees to widen roads in cities.

Bangalore has lost hundreds of trees in the past few years, all in the name of widening roads. Many of these trees were over hundred years old. Lined on both sides of the road, they gave Bangloreans reasons to believe they lived in a garden city.

Recently, hundreds of school children left their homes on a Sunday to protest against indiscriminate cutting of trees on historic Jaymahal Road. These children formed a human chain to draw attention to this blind quest to kill 856 trees! (Read the entire story here)

Such decisions are taken despite the experience that wider roads don’t reduce traffic congestion. Check Delhi out: Delhi has roads on average two to three times wider than any other city in India. Yet, Delhi experiences more traffic hold-ups than any other city. China was in news recently for going through 60 km long traffic jam that lasted weeks, despite its fantastic road network. (Read the full story here)

Why wider roads don’t reduce traffic congestion? Because, wider roads only results in more vehicles. And, soon enough we’re back to square one.  But the tree that provided life, is now gone!

 

I believe cutting a tree is like digging our own grave. Actually it’s worse. No tree would mean any wood available for our cremation, nor for making coffins. Quite tragic indeed.

60-mile long traffic jam in China, took weeks to clear

 

 

Comments

  1. Wishful thinking will not change anything but some pro active steps can.

    One best solution would be to grow as many trees as we possibly can at the fastest speed to coverup the losses due to deforestation and forest fire and other natural disasters. I did a reserach after reading your blog and have come up with some information.

    One fast growing tree of Chinese origin is Paulowina.

    Cost wise, it costs Rs. 5/- per sapling and you need 3000 saplings per acre of land.
    Having been super-cloned for Indian conditions by the Tatas, the plant is slowly making its presence felt in Punjab.

    Some salient features of this tree:

    – is non-GMO
    – is non-invasive (produces no seeds or fruit)
    – can be harvested at full maturity within 3 years
    – re-grows from its own stump to full maturity in another 3 years
    – has huge leaves for carbon sequestration
    – can survive in land and on water where nothing else will grow
    – actually leaves the soil and water cleaner when it is finished
    – can survive on only 300 gallons of water per year from all sources
    Exceptional Growth Rate:
    2 Year Height up to 32 feet
    =7 year Height up to 60 feet
    =7 year DBH 22-28 inches
    knot free=to first limb at 7 years
    The Mega flora Tree offers many desirable characteristics and creates an unmatched set
    of financial and ecological benefits for both the grower and the community.
    Wood characteristics•Hard Wood Timber
    •Easy to Work and Finish
    •Straight Grained
    •Resembles Ash in Color & Grain
    •Takes Stain Well
    •Light Weight yet Strong
    •No Kiln Drying Needed
    Benefits•Re grows from Stump of Harvested Tree
    (Reforestation without replanting)
    •Excellent Phytoremediation Characteristics
    (incl. Chemicals, Metals and Radiation)
    •Fast Growth means More Profits and Jobs
    •Non-Invasive (bonded)
    •Grows in Wide Range of Climates
    •Ideal for Intercropping
    •Soil Stabilization
    •Riparian Buffers
    •Reduces Global Warming
    All of this means that the Mega folia Tree will not only produce high income from product sales, but will generate eco-friendly sustainable development in areas where it is planted.

    The plant has been in existence in China for nearly 2000 years and has been used extensively for paper-making, wood products and furniture purposes. Quality timber could be realised from the plant in five years, it could be grown on plains and mountainous regions up to a height of 2000 meters under Indian conditions. Paulownia could attain a height of 16 to 18 feet in the first growing season. In the northern plains of the country, the growth starts with the onset of spring and continues till the beginning of winter. The tree yields nearly 30 to 35 cubic feet of quality, merchantable rough-sawn timber and can be harvested seven times.

    More of Mega flor tree – Paulownia.

    Mega flora tree -Paulownia Tree is a an agricultural technology that carries with it the potential of reducing our dependence on foreign oil increase production of bio fuel provide massive CO2 sequestration provide reversal of desertification.Even better, it could theoretically do all these things while both conserving water and increasing potential agricultural output.

    Mega Flora Tree, a hybrid-cross, high-density, short-rotation tree that has been in development for many years. The Mega flora Tree can be harvested in as little as two years, for biomass fuel, making it ideal for reforestation. It grows to it’s mature height of 55 to 65 feet in only six to seven years, with the first limbs beginning at 35 feet, thus producing excellent knot free lumber.

    The Mega Flora combines the best qualities of two other trees, through a root grafting system that involves a patented DNA transfer process. Its parents are the fast-growing Paulownias tree and a North American hardwood tree. It is not a genetically modified organism.

    In addition to its fast growing speed and dense, woody trunk, the Mega flora tree features a large leaf volume, which increases its CO2 uptake. My research suggests that CO2 uptake is fastest in young, fast-growing trees, and this is certainly one of them. As I understand it, the carbon in the CO2 is essentially being used to make the fibber of the tree — the hard “wood” that we would harvest and burn — or, in this case, chip, render, and distil into a bio fuel.

    As if all this wasn’t enough, the Mega Flora is also extremely hardy. Its growing tests were conducted in the Pyrenees Mountains of Spain, where it was fertilized with municipal sewage sludge. It is said to withstand levels of salinity and boron in soils and water that kill other plants and trees.

    Additionally, its ultra-fast growing cycle “hyper-accumulates” these contaminants, which are of course removed during the conversion to bio fuel, leaving the soil cleaner than it began.

    Information gathered from: http://www.agricultureinformation.com

  2. i think the problem is a little more complicated than that. Because of lack of quality public transportation people use their own cars and more cars mean more traffic jams. Now the local administration is under severe pressure to sort out traffic jams and the moment our time to travel from home to office comes down from 1 hour to 30 mins (even temporary) because of widening of roads then all of us say that the government is doing a good job with infrastructure. No one cares about the tree because the harmful effects are not felt immediately. Its not like we are running out of breath. Therefore i think this whole concept of sensitizing people is a difficult route to take. Someone in the pvt sector (Tatas, Birlas) etc or in the government needs to see the problem and launch larger scale public transportation systems which are comfortable, affordable and convenient. Thats the only way car usage is going to go down and roads will not need to be widened and trees will not get cut.

  3. Cutting a tree is like killing someone who cannot cry out or show pain.

    Are we sadists, or what? Masochists, killing our future? Or both

    Cutting a tree should be declared a crime, punishable by (a) a really severe fine (b) the necessity to plant 50 more trees and nurture them personally for at least two years (c) community service of at least 20 week-ends spreading the message against cutting trees through personal talks in parks, community gatherings etc. Strict enforcement with jail if not complied with in full. Any bribe given or taken in this area should be punishable by death. Better we kill these jokers now than permit them to kill our children later – painfully

    Every film, play, performance, public event (eg political rallies) should start and end with a 5 minute long message about preserving our environment and reinforcing the punishment for cutting a tree

    Govt officials & politicians who either pass an order to cut a tree, or supervise one, should be made an example of by doubling the punishment for them

    But for the moment, reality strikes…

    So I agree with Vishy and would go so far as to suggest vehicle free zones. For example, in Delhi, there is really no reason to allow traffic into Connaught place. Other than the outer circle for parking. Unfortunately, our shortsighted mandarins in power have built a parking lot smack in the centre of CP !!! The buildings are so majestic but the vehicles parked in front of the shopping blocks by the parking mafia are complete eyesores – not to mention the honking (apropos your earlier post) when getting in, out and around the central vista. Of course, no one cares about pedestrians anyway ! I could think of several creative ways to plant hundreds of trees in the CP area instead of the sad demotivated plants we see today.

    I am sure there are several places in other cities that can be converted into vehicle free zones that can be used to plant trees in place of the existing roads

  4. Why don’t we declare a few roads as “vehicle free”? sounds the anthithesis of all traffic problems..but that is exactly the point. The roads can be narrow and the trees don’t need to be felled on those ‘roads’.

    We have created cars and buses..but with individual cars, and with more cars we are left with more traffic.

    1) incentivise for cars to be shared
    2) incentivise for traffic to be staggered

    How? THere are lots of ways of doing these!

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