The thick canopy over the Kerala University campus at Kariavattom in Thiruvananthapuram can make anyone fall in love with the place. But this awe-inspiring sight has its flip-side too. A lion’s share of the spread is occupied by Acacia trees. Depleting water sources and pollen allergies have made authorities think about replacing the trees with more sustainable plants. Now decades later, indigenous trees are set to replace the Acacia forest, in phases. The first step began recently and will go into full swing in less than a month.
A committee comprising faculty members of various departments is carrying out a documentation of trees on campus. “With this project, we intend a scientific afforestation. At first, some areas at the rear end of the campus will be chosen and fruit-bearing trees will be planted in the place of Acacia. Then we will take permission from every department before removing the trees. The phased removal is so as not to make the campus look barren,” said A Bijukumar, Associate Professor, Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries.
The mission aims to clear the trees from the premises of the residential quarters too. A majority of the trees are more than 20 years old.Two nurseries will be set up on the campus shortly, one connecting the hostels and another near the Botany department. In order to carry out the project successfully, saplings would be grown in the nurseries first and then shifted to the soil. Every five years, the growth of the saplings will be monitored. The kind of trees that will be chosen are those that need less attention and grow on their own. The trees include fruit-bearing varieties like jackfruit, mango and sapota to name a few. Student volunteers have already rolled up sleeves to take part in the initiative.