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Save Trees: How strangling wires and hammering nails kill trees

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SHIMLA-For the last couple of years, HW tried to bring the attention of Govt. and the public towards continuous tree abuse in Shimla by HPSEB , the public, advertisers, cable operators etc.,but the major share of contribution comes from HPSEB. The trees are strangled with metal wires, and iron rods and nails are hammered into their trunk, which causes a great harm to the trees. A tree eventually dies or doesn’t grow properly. But, the DFO at Shimla MC, HPSEB, Forest Department, and the public couldn’t get any clue about what HW has been talking about, why we have been continuously protesting against the tree abuse all over the Shimla city, and why we regularly keep roaming like abandoned jerks, clicking nails and wires on trees. Here comes the importance of education. Therefore, we thought of revising the botany basics that each of us learned during the high school science classes. In nutshell, we will discuss how it harms a tree if we strangle it with wires, hammer nail or iron rods into it, and why these practices must be discouraged.

Wires obstruct the Plant Transportation System

Its an scientifically established fact that the all plants are categorized as living things. The plant transportation system is the internal mechanism of supplying water and nutrients from roots to all other parts of the tree. Not exactly, but this transportation system is somewhat similar to that of a human body: the blood carries oxygen and other food components to different parts of the body.

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The first layer of the tree body is called bark. Right under the bark, there is a layer of tissues which is called Cambium, the area just beneath the bark where cells divide and is responsible for the increase tree girth. Then comes two most important passages xylem and phloem. Xylem is responsible for carrying water and minerals to the leaves where it creates its food through photosynthesis. Phloem is a translocating vessels that facilitate the movement of the food components to the growing stems or the storage tissues. The life and growth of a tree completely depends upon the uninterrupted service of this transportation system.

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Now, all this operation takes place inside the tree trunk. When a metal wire is tightly wrapped around the trunk and it stays there for a prolonged period of time, the tree trunk grows around it and the wire penetrates the two important passages, xylem and phloem as the diameter of the tree trunk widens. As a result of that, either a portion of the tree above the point where the wire penetrated don’t receive the supply of water and minerals or same happens to some specific part of the gradually growing tree. The upper portion or the tree either dries or it doesn’t grow to its full capacity. So, in a way, it’s similar to cutting the veins in a human body or like choking by wrapping a tight wire around the neck. It does a great harm to a tree with irreversible damages.

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How nails damage a tree?

The thickness of the bark decides how much damage a nail of a particular size could do to a tree if it’s hammered into it. If a nail is long enough to penetrate through the bark, it reaches the two transportation vessels, xylem and phloem. When the nail corrodes, dissolved metals makes it toxic. The damage is maximum if the metal happens to be highly reactive like copper where the chemical reaction will oxidize the metal, leaving a very fetal toxic that flows to the whole tree through the two vessels and ensures that the tree or some particular part of it dries gradually. If not killed, it weakens the tree, and in a weakened stage, the tree may die from other stress such as heavy rains, snowfall, drought etc.

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If not this way, then hammering a nail can harm a tree in the same way as a open wound of a nail would do to a human body. The tree trunk is opened for infections and the entry of foreign pathogenic agents like fungi. If the tree fails to develop sufficient immunity against such infections, the whole tree could eventually dry.

For the sake of human life and chainsaw

The deep embedded nail, rod or metal wire, which eventually disappears into tree trunk and no more visible to human eye, could result in mishaps as well. If you search the web, you’ll come across incidents where people lost their limbs or reported serious injuries after the chainsaw bounced back on the victims after striking against the metal nails, rods and metal wires inside the tree-trunk. It also causes damage to the equipments. So, it’s better to check such practices when we know that sooner or later every tree is going to be axed,especially if the government and the public continued to maintained their passiveness towards this highly sensitive issue of tree abuse and intentional deforestation.

We hope, now it’s comprehensible enough for DFO Shimla MC, HPSEB, and the public, who believe that hammering nails or strangling tight wires doesn’t do any damage to a tree. HW is continuously making efforts to stop this practice and get the nails, iron rods, collars, and metal wires etc. removed as soon as possible.

How you can help

If you come across such trees in your area which either have metal wires wrapped around them or you see nails/rods/collars hammered into them, then please do report it to either DFO or click a few photographs with your mobile and forward them to HW with their locations. We will make sure that these trees are saved. So, next time, don’t ignore it, do report it. We all share the responsibility to keep the earth green and save precious trees.

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Advance Studies Images:Abhishek Negi

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Environment

Himachal to Adopt ‘Borehole Resin Extraction’ Method to Minimize Damage to Pine Trees & Maximize Quality

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Pine Resin Trapping in Himachal Pradesh

Solan-In the past decade, intensive resin tapping by rill method has resulted in the drying of thousands of pine trees in Himachal Pradesh. It has also been observed, that the application of higher concentration of acid, used as a freshener, had adversely affected the growth of trees and even the tapped surface area is not healing.

Therefore, the HP State Forest Development Corporation will soon adopt the borehole technique of oleoresin extraction to minimize the damage caused to pine trees by resin tapping and simultaneously increase the quality of the collected resin.

It was informed by Himachal Pradesh Forest Minister Sh. Gobind Singh Thakur during the concluding session of the one-day training of officials from HP State Forest Development Corporation at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF) Nauni. The method has been developed by the scientists of the Forest Products Department of the university. 

Bore hole resin extraction

Borehole Resin Extraction’ Method

The Forest Minister said that the department would adopt the new technique in the coming time so that the twin motives of resin quality and its quantity along with ensuring the good health of the trees can be met. He said that the Forest Department will work in collaboration with the university so that the benefit of the various technologies developed by it can be put to the best use for the development of the state.

BD Suyal, MD State Forest Corporation said that technique is quite encouraging and the corporation will take up setting up 10-15,000 bores in every directorate to assess the results of the method. He added that in the second phase the contractors and the labourers will be also be trained on technique by the university. Earlier, Dr Kulwant Rai Sharma gave a detailed presentation and practical demonstration on the technique to the forest officials. He said that the adoption of the technology can prove to be boon for the forests and the resin industry. 

What is Borehole Method of Resin Extraction  

The new method involves drilling small holes (1 inch wide and 4 inches deep) with the help of simple tools into the tree to open its resin ducts. The holes are drilled with a slight slope towards the opening, so that oleoresin drains freely. Multiple boreholes are arrayed evenly around the tree’s circumference, or clustered in groups of two or three. Spouts are tightly fitted into the opening with polythene bags attached to it with the help of tie for resin collection.

resin trappig method in Himachal Pradesh

Borehole Resin Extraction’ Method

The new technique was developed in an attempt to overcome some of the limitations of other conventional methods. A key feature of the method is that a closed collection apparatus prevents premature solidification of resin acids, thereby maintaining oleoresin flow for an extended period of up to six months. Due to reduced oxidation and contamination, the end product is of higher quality with substantially higher turpentine. The average yield per tree is almost the same if numbers of boreholes on a tree are adjusted as per the maximum carrying capacity of the tree. The method also allows tapping of lower diameter trees depending upon their potential of production without having any impact on their health. The crown fire hazards incidents are also less because there is no hard resin accumulation on the main stem and spread of ground blaze can be easily avoided by removing the bags well in time.

The rosin and turpentine oil obtained from borehole method are of very good quality, which can fetch higher prices in the market. In addition to tackling the problems of tree health, labour requirements and costs for borehole tapping are significantly lower than conventional methods. The borehole wounds cause little damage to the tree bark and since these holes are near the ground level, only a healed scar can be seen in the converted woods. Therefore, there is no damage to the merchantable part of the tree.

Further, the Forest Minister also said that the university and the forest department will look to work together for establishing an eco-tourism model on the university campus. He added that the University Vice-Chancellor will be invited to all the important policy meetings of the state forest department to seek their expertise. The forest minister visited the demonstration block of borehole technique and also planted a tree at the university.

UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr Parvinder Kaushal called for continuous interaction between the university and the forest department. He emphasized on apprising the grass root level workers and train them on the new technique.

The event was attended by  BD Suyal, Managing Director, HP Forest Corporation; KK Kataik Director(South); Dr JN Sharma, Director Research, Dr Kulwant Rai Dean College of Forestry and other officials of the university. Around 30 officers of the rank of Divisional Managers and Assistant Managers from various parts of the state took part in the training.

 

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Shrikhand Mahadev Faces Garbage Crisis, IMF Team Collects 1900 kg Garbage During 12-Day Cleaning Campaign

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IMF shrikhand Mahadev Cleaning Campaign 2019 f

Kullu-During 2019 season, a local boy treks the holy shrine of Shrikhand Mahadev. Shrikhand is not only a holy place but is also a very beautiful and picturesque place at an altitude of 5300 metres.

Lalit Mohan had imagined the place to be green, clean and tranquil, which was the reason he had decided to trek it. Little did he know that the mountain was no longer the grand trail he had trekked years ago. He was shocked over what has become of this place. There was crowd everywhere and terraces had been cut over the campsites to accommodate numerous tents. Most of the water sources had dried up and remaining were badly polluted with plastic waste. He was surprised that the situation was the same even at the top, which is supposed to be the holy spot. A lot of offerings were made in plastic bags and glass bottles.

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He returned to Delhi and wrote a letter to the Director of Indian Mountaineering Federation (IMF) for hosting a cleaning drive along the entire trek. With a positive response from the director IMF, Col. H.S. Chauhan, a cleaning drive expedition was planned by the IMF in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and NSS. A team was formed that comprised of the members of the Indian Mountain Federation Lalit Kanwar, Praveen Dahiya, Hemant Sharma, Nikhil Chauhan and Rajat Jamwal. The team was led by Lalit Mohan. The expedition was flagged off by the SDM, Anni, Kullu district, on October 2, 2019.

The team got to work from the base campsite at Shingad and collected unethically disposed of garbage from the campsites at Brati Nala, Reyosh Thach, Khumba, Thathi Bheel, Thachru, Kali Ghati, Bhim Talai, Kungsha, Bhim Dwar, Parvati Bagh, Nain Sarovar and the Shrine on top. The garbage mostly comprised of remains of plastic sheets, bottles, wrappers, left-over food etc.

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Two major reasons behind this widespread littering and unethical disposal of garbage are the public feasts (Bhandaras) and the pandals erected to host them. Moreover, there were around 700 private tents which were set up throughout the mountain. Also, these tents do not provide even temporary toilets and visitors relieve themselves in open wherever they can. 

It is also important to note that the Kurpan stream, which flows through this valley, is the only snow-fed source of drinking water for many villages.

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It appears that authorities responsible for granting permission for setting up campsites in this fragile environment did not pay any attention to prepare a proper plan for waste management. Most of the area falls in the reserve forest category, and it is surprising to see that according to the forest rules, no one can be granted permission to set up a campsite in a reserve forest area.

Strong religious sentiments are associated with the Shrine of Shrikhand Mahadev, but growing movement of visitors without proper management in such a fragile environment has its own side-effects.
IMF shrikhand Mahadev Cleaning Campaign 2019 4

The team made their way to the top in minus 10 degrees temperature and was shocked to find plastic waste strewn over the glacier too. The team collected a total of 1900 kgs of garbage in about 170 sacks. The sacks were ferried down the mountain with the help of local people, who came ahead to support the team in its quest during the expedition. The team returned to Nirmand village on the October 14. The garbage was deposited with the Block Development officer at Nirmand. The team held meetings with schools students at Jaon and Bagipul villages to spread the message of conserving and protecting the environment and taking steps to maintain cleanliness in the mountains.

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HIMCOSTE ENVIS HUB Training on “Securing High Range Himalayan Ecosystems” Begins Today

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HIMCOSTE ENVIS HUB Training

Shimla- HP ENVIS HUB at Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE), Shimla, today kicked off its one-month training program on Para-taxonomy under the GoI-UNDP-GEF Project “Securing Livelihoods, Conservation, Sustainable use and Restoration of high range Himalayan Ecosystems” (SECURE Himalaya).

This program is being conducted in collaboration with HP Forest Department and State Biodiversity Board for Lahaul, Pangi and Kinnaur landscapes of the State. Under this program, selected youth would be trained for documentation of local biodiversity in the form of People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs).

The Chief Guest of the inaugural function was Dr Savita, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife). Sh. Anil Thakur, CCF (Wildlife) and Dr S.P. Bhardwaj, Retd Associate Director, Regional Fruit Research Station, UHF, Nauni were special guests on the occasion.

Speaking on the inaugural function today, Dr Savita, PCCF (Wildlife) said that snow leopard is the iconic animal of high Himalayas. A good number of these apex predators denote a healthy ecosystem. To ensure the survival of these beautiful animals, sustainable use of forest resources and generation of alternative livelihood opportunities is pertinent.

The initial step to conserving local biodiversity is its documentation as Peoples Biodiversity Registers (PBRs). She lauded the efforts of ENVIS Hub in implementation of Green Skill Development Program (GSDP) last year and now training students in SECURE Project.

Dr Aparna Sharma, Coordinator, HP ENVIS Hub, informed that under this course, selected students would be imparted theoretical and practical knowledge by eminent experts in the fields of botany, zoology, forestry, wildlife, importance and conservation of Biodiversity, waste management, remote sensing & GIS. In association with State Biodiversity Board, field visits would be carried out to prominent Universities, Research Institutions and conservation areas of Himachal Pradesh for exposure to local flora, fauna and its documentation in PBRs.

A total of nine students have been selected for the training program: six from Pangi, two from Lahaul and one from Shimla. The best of trained youth would be involved in making PBRs in selected landscapes by the HP State Biodiversity Board.

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