A Tree Saved! Environmentalists Relocate a Tree from being Axed down for Road Widening

A Tree Saved! Environmentalists Relocate a Tree from being Axed down for Road Widening

  • A Tree Saved! Activists/Environmentalists/officials of MCC and Forest Department Relocate a Tree from being Axed down for Road Widening, at the turning corner near Lady Hill/Pompei Church-Urwa

Mangaluru: Urbanization and development are an inevitable part of living today. Road widening and building of flyovers have to happen in every city, but, this comes at the cost of losing green cover. Though transplantation and translocation of trees is an age-old activity the world across, it is rarely looked to as a solution before a tree is brought down. Planting new trees is a method we all know will improve the green cover and should definitely be adopted. But in cases where it is not possible, is the practice of translocation, not a great alternative? The age-old process of translocation involves uprooting trees and re-planting them in a different place. This process dates back to 2000 BC and was practised in Egypt. It has recently attracted attention again with growing concerns over environmental issues.

Original Place of the Peltophorum Tree near the Lady Hill Rd corner…

And for that matter, there is one person in Mangaluru who is the backbone of ‘Mangalore Green Brigade’ organization, Jeeth Roche who whenever gets the news that a tree or trees needed to be axed down to make way for roads or infrastructure, quickly steps in and suggests the idea of translocation of tree or trees, rather than killing them. And such idea was used today, to shift a tree from one place to another, and planted there. Thanks to Jeeth, who has found a way to ensure development does not come at the cost of the environment, and who believes it is better to relocate trees rather than felling them. Along with the help from his wife Selma Roche, and Prajwal Suares, a member of his organization, and also joined by Mangaluru-based social and environment activist H. Shashidhar Shetty. The huge tree that was relocated today was Peltophorum pterocarpum, a species of Peltophorum.

The fast disappearing green cover compelled Roche to think, and he realized that something should be done to save trees rather than cut them when there is road widening or any other city development, where trees come in the way. Roche had this thought when he noticed many trees being cut down to widen the roads, and this made him to form “Mangalore Green Brigade” to plant more trees/save trees and make Mangaluru City Clean and Green. The process of relocating trees involves digging the earth at least 4 feet in diameter and depth around its roots and then treating the roots carefully during transportation. The process is slow and takes time and what makes it expensive is basically the need to hire earth movers, cranes, and trailers. The cost of shifting a tree, like today, will be around Rs 25,000-in other cases it all depends on the size of the tree and how much work/time has to be put in.

In the last few months, Jeeth has relocated around 20 trees, one among them being a 300-year-old Tamarind tree, near Kankanady Pumpwell. When trees were being cut down, no one raised objection, so moved by this unfortunate incidents, Roche decided to do something to stop the indiscriminate felling of trees. Sources reveal that this practice of shifting trees has been around since 2000 BC, where Ancient Egyptian pictographs depict men transporting trees, with their roots, in large containers. The Egyptians supposedly transported large trees by ships from different parts of the world and transplanted them in Egypt. “It is indeed amazing that a solution to the felling of large trees exists with humans for many centuries now. It is heartening to know that in most countries, the world over, trees are not cut down but are instead translocated. However, for some reason, in India, this is not popular as yet. But I am trying my best to introduce this system to the fullest here in Mangaluru” added Jeeth.

We all know that trees play a very important role in protecting the lives of all other living beings found around them. Most of our activities generate plenty of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases that pollute the atmosphere, and it is only trees that can convert these gases into oxygen and help counter the ill-effects. Trees take many years to grow and once fully grown, many species can live for more than a hundred years. The loss of even one tree in a vicinity can cause an imbalance in the natural wealth and health of the surrounding area. Tree translocation is a tedious process, which has to be done very carefully.

…the New Place for the Tree near to St Aloysius School Compound Wall

In today’s process, after most of the tree branches were pruned, it was then transported using a crane to the new place, just a few meters away from its original place, near St Aloysius English Medium School-Urwa- and where a root ball trench was already been made and the soil been treated with anti-pest and anti-disease chemicals. The shifted tree was then planted in the new trench, and for the next couple of months requires close monitoring. With cities rapidly losing green cover, including Mangaluru, there is an urgent need for more research on the viability of tree translocation, and it is becoming increasingly important that we take steps to save each and every full-grown tree.

And if you need more information on translocation of a tree you can contact: Jeeth Roche at 9844227070