BANGALORE: If you are under the impression that man and wildlife are the only living beings reeling under globalisation and dramatic climatic changes, you will have to give it a second thought.
Known for its extraordinary fragrance that stretches as far as a kilometre, a rare deciduous tree called Shorea talura is today on the verge of extinction and all because of man’s follies. Commonly known as ‘Jaluri’, it is also called as the ‘Pride of Bangalore’ as it is found only in the Deccan Peninsula of our country.
A recent study indicates that the tree is endemic to hilly regions of Karnataka, thriving in the rocky crevices of the jungles of Bannerghatta, Ramanagaram, Savandurga, Chandragupte Forest Reserve near Sorab in Shimoga District and Byrandurga of Kudur in Magadi taluk. Some traces of this species have also been found in small pockets in Andhra Pradesh.
Dr Munirajappa, Professor, Plant Sciences, Sericulture Department, Bangalore University, who is doing research on ‘Plants used for rearing Tussar Silk’, said, “This is an outstanding bio-energy plant and the leaves of this plant is used for making tussar silk. But, unfortunately the innumerable advantages of this rare plant has not been explored due to lack of awareness. Tussar rearing is not really big in our state, as compared to Jharkhand or Orissa.”
But, why is this tree endangered? He explains, “This tree is found only in the rocky regions. But, due to environmental pollution, drastic changes in weather, scanty or erratic rainfall, prolonged drought and reckless felling, this Pride of Bangalore has been on the receiving end. Morever, the regeneration ability of this tree is very low due to poor seed germination. During the fruiting season, when the fruit falls on the ground, due to lack of moisture in soil, the fruit is eaten away by insects and the germination fails to take place. If the germination process does not happen within a week’s time, they won’t multiply. Hence, we have categorised this tree as RTEG (Rare Threatened Endangered Genotype).”
Efforts to save: Of late, well-known environmentalist Yellappa Reddy has given a call to safeguard these trees and appealed that this tree should be planted in and around the city. Attempts will be made to multiply this plant species by adapting a traditional seed bed technique (Nursery technique) and Tissue Culture (embryo rescue technique).
There is a proposal to raise block plantation of this tree in the ‘Bangalore Biopark’ at Jnana Bharathi campus. Hardened seedlings will be planted in public parks of Bangalore by tying up with the BBMP. People interested to know more about planting this tree can contact Dr Munirajappa (9448224211) or Sudha (9611488780) from the Department of Sericulture/Life Science, BU, Bangalore.