In a bid to increase the green cover over developing Kochi, the Social Forestry Wing of the Kerala Forest Department has decided to set up ‘Nakshatra Vanam’ (star forest) in different parts of city. The project, to be carried out with public assistance, aims to nurture a minor forest in various compounds with saplings supplied by the Forest Department.
The Forest Department will provide saplings of ‘Kanjiram’, ‘Nelli’ ‘Athi’, ‘Njaval’, ‘Karingali’, ‘Karimaram’, ‘Bamboo’, ‘Arayal’, ‘Nangu’, ‘Peral’, ‘Plasu’, ‘Ithi’, ‘Ambazham’, ‘Koovalam’, ‘Neermaruthu’, ‘Vayyangatha’, ‘Elanji’,’Vetti’, ‘Vella Pine’, ‘Attu Vanchi’, ‘Plavu’, ‘Erukku’, ‘Vahni’, ‘Kadambu’, ‘Mavu’, ‘Karimpana’ and ‘Iluppa’. These trees represent 27 stars of the Malayalam Calendar.
According to S Unnikrishnan, Assistant Conservator of Forest, Social Forestry, Ernakulam, the greenery of the city is depleting at an alarming rate owing to the continuous development activities.
“So, the Department has come up with such an initiative to preserve our environment. We are mainly looking to set up ‘star forests’ in schools, colleges, temples and social institutions. However, if anybody is interested in setting up a ‘star forest’ in their compound, we will extend full support,” he said.
A plot of four to six cents is required for the purpose. So the Department is looking for schools and colleges where there is ample space.
Interested persons can contact the Social Forestry Wing of the Forest Department and the saplings will be supplied in June. The Forest Department will assist interested people in nurturing the mini forest.
“We have received applications from schools, colleges and a temple. Several schools in the city have shown interest in the project,” S Unnikrishnan said.
The Forest Department has proposed to set up 100 ‘star forests’ in the city in a year’s time.
The green cover is an immediate requirement of the city, with several trees being axed as part of Kochi Metro Project.
Besides, with high-rises coming up around Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary, it’s existence is also under threat.
According to Forest officials, around 1,400 trees would be cut down as part of the Kochi Metro project and it would be difficult for planting trees at roadsides again. At present, the officials are looking for land to plant trees to compensate for the ones felled.