10-yr management plans for city forests in works
New Delhi: City forests will soon have a management plan of their own, stating what ecological improvements are needed in each area over the next five to 10 years through plantations and interventions by the forest department.
The plans will be formulated by the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun that has already begun making a list of forests to be surveyed, officials said.
FRI was contacted by the Delhi forest department two months ago and officials said the institute has agreed to carry out a ground survey of forests in Delhi and then formulate the plans required. Each plan will not only specify the number of tree species, their count and the animals present inside but will also highlight the past practices followed in the area and what interventions are needed to improve the habitats.
“We will also need help of the land owning agencies as all forests in Delhi are not under the department. The first step — survey and field study of the forests — will begin shortly,” a forest official told TOI.
Forest officials said Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary (ABWLS) in south Delhi already has a 10-year old management plan of its own, complete with the list of actions needed. Other forests however will need a plan, specifying the native species that can be planted there and the invasive species thriving there.
“The focus is on enhancing the biodiversity. The wildlife count can increase through this over time. Other techniques like improving the water harvesting capacity of the forest and making it a better carbon sink will also be a part of this plan,” a senior forest official said.
The department says work on these is likely to take several months for each forest before each plan can be passed individually. “It will take time to carry out a ground survey and since there are no baselines against which a comparison can be made, the process will take longer.
Once a baseline is set, it will be easy for us to know the change in both flora and fauna count over time and whether or not the changes are working,” said the official.
The plans will be formulated by the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun that has started preparing a list of forests to be surveyed, an official said