Heritage Trees

DOWNLOAD COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE

Many majestic mature trees are the natural heritage of Chandigarh and serve as important green landmarks for our city of gardens. They help to create a sense of permanence and identity to the place we live in. Just as our Garden City, it takes decades and in some cases, more than a hundred years for these trees to mature gracefully in our landscape.

As Chandigarh progresses, there is a danger of losing these mature trees. In view of this concern, the Heritage Trees Project was planned with an objective to conserve and to educate the community on the importance of protecting our tree wealth.

This Project plans to prepare after every five years a list of trees that - because of their age, size, type, historical association or horticultural value - are of special importance to the City. The Mission of the volunteers of YUVSATTA is to preserve, manage, enhance, and expand a vital collection of plants in an active, urban setting.

From December, 2005 to February, 2006 volunteers of YUVSATTA went from sector to sector, village to village and to every nook and corner of the city, meeting residents, students, teachers and Government officials collecting data on Heritage Trees and Heritage Tree sites in Chandigarh. After three months of extensive hardwork it is soul-satisfying to see the magnificent results. One can never imagine that there are more than 1000 trees in Chandigarh that can be termed as Heritage Trees or part of Heritage sites. These are rare assets for any urban city.

As planned and envisaged the Project Heritage Trees serves to identify, recognize and conserve the majestic individual trees in the city landscape. The criteria adopted for identification of a Heritage tree was by virtue of its age i.e around 100 years, aesthetic value, historical significance, cultural reasons, social & educational value, trees that are landmarks of a community and inhabitation, trees in a notable grove, avenue, or other planting, a rare species, or provides a habitat for rare species of plants, animals or birds etc.

Most of the selected Heritage Trees selected are of good quality, relatively free of damage and are also sufficiently well suited to preservation. Once endorsed as a Heritage Tree by the Department of Environment, Chandigarh Administration, the selected  trees can be included in Heritage Trees List of Chandigarh for the purpose of promoting its conservation and educating the community to conserve, respect and love mature trees.

As Heritage Trees are a part our Natural Heritage, a special care programme can be put up to conserve them. For example, volunteers of YUVSATTA would be seeking sponsorship for installing lightning conductors on some of these trees to protect against damages by lightning. There is also an urgent need to motivate concerned officials to adopt other measures to prevent soil compaction or excavation around the root zone.

Heritage trees can be inspected and maintained by volunteers of YUVSATTA through a regular tree care programme. For the trees that need extra protection, members of YUVSATTA can mobilize people to recognize the value of these trees and safeguard them.

A 'Heritage Trees Fund' needs to be established in Chandigarh. The Fund can be used to implement a conservation programme to safeguard our Heritage Trees and to promote appreciation of our natural heritage. Various programme initiatives could include installation of lightning conductors, interpretive signage, and putting in place a nomination scheme for the community.

Currently, volunteers of YUVSATTA under the Greentire programme are conducting countryside guided bicycle tours. After the identification of Heritage Trees in Chandigarh guided bicycle tours for students of Botany, eco-activist, domestic and foreign tourists and youngsters of different educational institutions of the city can also be arranged.


Source: Pramod Sharma Co-ordinator YUVSATTA, Convenor,Committee on Heritage Trees Chandigarh Administration