Translocation hurts trees, say experts


Bangalore, February 01, 2018: Translocation of trees seems better than chopping them down, but it has an adverse effect on them, environmentalists say. The process also has a negative impact on the environment.

To make way for a Gottigere-Nagawara line, BMRCL recently translocated 185 trees to the IIM-B campus with help from private agencies.

Sheshadri Ramaswami, who is researching on south India’s forest reserves, said all trees cannot be translocated. “It depends on the species of the tree. Small trees are better for translocation as they have a better chance of survival. When they translocate a tree, they cut the branches and roots, so there is a chance of the tree getting infected by fungus…. Fungal infections can spread through the trunk. Aftercare is very important. We suggest not doing it during the rainy season,” he informed The Observer.

To be translocated, a tree needs to be lifted from the root. Sometimes roots are damaged or the trunk suffers bruises. Environmentalists say cutting branches and roots reduces the chances of a tree surviving after translocation. Straw must be wrapped around the trunk to avoid damage to a tree. Following transplantation, a tree must be given chemical treatment to protect it from fungus.

According to Ramaswami, “translocation of a tree is more of a social event than a scientific process”.

Translocation is unwelcome from the legal viewpoint because the government does not follow environmental norms.
Prof. Kshithij Urs of the National Law School of India University said: “The government does not follow the environment impact analysis (EIA) process. There are protocols to be followed. Projects require EIA, but they
avoid EIA norms. For them, it is a money-making project. They do not care about the environment. They should find alternatives to projects that impact the environment.”

However, BMRCL insists it is maintaining the environment. “The public and tree lovers accuse us of destroying the environment. But they refuse to concede that… we need to clear some space. We do not cut down trees but translocate them to make maintain the balance in the environment,” U.A. Vasanth Rao, chief public relations officer of the BMRCL, informed The Observer.

“It will cost us around Rs 10,000 for each tree. Earlier also, BMRCL maintained greenery. Take the example of M.G. Road,” the officer added.

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