More Homes Don't Mean Fewer Trees. Here is How Community Can Help
One of the biggest challenge for India today is building homes for the homeless without compromising on its forest cover. Already, the data on green cover in India is dismal. According to recent figures, the forest cover in the country is merely two per cent of the total land area, making the forest per capita ratio as low as 0.08 per cent. The world average is at 0.8 per cent.
Despite numerous petitions and afforestation movements, deforestation still remains very much a threat, especially in urban areas where, fueled by ever increasing demand for residential and commercial buildings, real estate constructions seem to be in full swing. The process of deforestation has further seen acceleration due to the cutting of trees in the protected areas.
Importance of afforestation
Simply put, afforestation refers to activities that help promote the natural flora and fauna of a region. Some of these activities include planting of saplings and shrubs in areas where the flora had existed originally, while other efforts include planting trees in areas where there was no forest cover. Afforestation activities mitigate the effects of deforestation. The leading benefits of afforestation include maintenance of stable and healthy groundwater levels, the growth of natural habitat in a region and prevention of soil erosion, among others.
Afforestation in urban areas
Afforestation in urban areas is not as easy as it seems. As compared to cultivable land or land with forest cover, the soil in urban areas lacks essential nutrients that promote healthy plant growth. Certain planned steps need to be taken to improve the acidic and basic properties of the soil along with balancing its pH levels. This is not a one-man job and needs to be taken up by communities together to make a substantial difference.
Join hands – role of community
Issues related to deforestation that the urban populace is well aware of include the ever-increasing heat and delayed or less rainfall. In order to overcome the situation, many regions across the country have started making conscious efforts towards participating in afforestation activities. The Nature Clubs in schools play an important role in increasing awareness among children about the effects of Afforestation too. By using charts, putting up posters or painting walls, the schools aim to spread the benefits of afforestation among the masses. School children are encouraged to take up projects that include their family members and relatives as well as neighbours and community members in order to spread the message far and wide along with showing people first-hand what they can do to make the effort a success.
What to do
Usually, the communities tend to form groups of volunteers that take up green initiatives in their neighbourhoods. These initiatives include placement of dustbins, tree planting drives, and undertaking projects for cleaning up the neighbourhood. It is common practice for residents of an area to form a common fund for afforestation activities. Communities also undertake projects to improve the spiritual health in their locality for better plant growth. Social media platforms come in handy for communities to share their initiatives or brainstorm with others over their particular issues.
Aid from the authorities
In many cities, municipal corporations have been working hand in hand with communities to improve the forest cover in the urban areas. For builders and developers too, there is a change in the layout to include a terrace or landscaped gardens and provide open green spaces for residents. The new age residents should, hopefully, bring about a change for the better!
Tags: Green Housing, urbanization, Afforestation, Urban Afforestation, Advantages of Afforestation, Growing population, propguide