Saturday, September 17, 2011

Urban community forests

This is what happens when an urban born-and-bred person suddenly comes up with an idea of how to increase the green cover in the state. He writes up a note like this which will probably not be read by anybody much less be implemented. Knowing it very well, this is still my attempt to pour out my ranting with respect to the afforestation of the state and country in general.

A cold water bath can spur these thoughts!? Well, if Chennai water feels cold, that is a sure sign for me that something is going wrong with the environment. The alternate rains and heat daily seems very unlike Chennai, which is known more of its heat than damp weather.

I suddenly thought how nice it would be if a group of people buy a land and plant trees in it. It is also an investment just like how a group of people buy an apartment complex! It is just that this investment might not yield immediate results, but is probably the best thing we can leave as legacy for our sons & daughters. The term ‘community forest’ came to mind immediately.

As with most netizens, the next logical activity was to lookup the term ‘community forest’ on the internet and find out what it is all about. But I understand it is not entirely similar to what is popularly called as ‘community forestry’ in general media (a concept unknown to me till today).

Proposal (rudimentary):

Ø A group of people (preferably more than 20) together form a trust or foundation

Ø The group of people contribute money as much as possible for them

Ø The foundation then buys a piece of land, preferably in the urban locality with the aim of creating a forest like natural environment

Ø These will be tended to as forests not in the sense of one teeming with wild-life, not at least in the beginning stages.

Constraints and Risks foreseen:

Ø Protection required under law from land grabbers, especially with political influence

Ø Maintenance personnel required for safeguarding the area or at least part-time volunteers looking after the area, watering trees, etc.

Ø Proper and responsible tracking has to be present especially on financial aspects for such foundations


Ø These trees will not be in anyway blocking roads requiring them to be cut when the roads are to be expanded.

Ø They will be in residential areas aiding in increased aesthetic value to localities that go with it.

Ø Once it catches popular imagination, it just becomes a natural extension of a locality. So, when a new area is being setup in an urban or semi-urban condition, such a forest / park will be thought of as a natural component of the area

Ø Climatic conditions in urban areas will certainly improve even with such pockets of small-forests / parks

Ø If sufficiently big areas are used for it, a natural park can even be setup in the areas for children aiding in a big way for their growth

Ø Above all, I feel it is our minimal duty to the country and more importantly for the next generation of people whom we have brought to life!