10-yr man­age­ment plans for city forests in works

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - Jas­jeev.Gand­hiok @times­group.com

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

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