Respect the habit and habitats and natural laws during plantation establishment

At last it has come to the notice that “Nearly 500 trees have died in the Bashundhara residential area, 20 around the Baridhara Lake, 25 near the Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University and ten more at the Farmgate Park”.

What about the others in Uttara, Ashulia and other part of the city?
Thousands of rain-trees, acacias died in many areas of the city nobody raised the question of such dying of plants. In 2003-2005, many big rain-trees died in Chittagong (Polo-ground and CRB etc.). Some Nageshwars and Acaias died in Cantonment area. Thousands of Sissoo died after 1988 floods throughout Bangladesh especially along the roadsides of floodplains. Who cares for them?

Now is it the death of the trees in the posh areas? If a tree is being cut for a particular reason, our so-called environmentalists used to become vocal against such cutting even it is for development or to remove for disease.

My question is who are the advisers of planting the trees defying their habitats? Is it Forest Department? City Corporation? Local people?

Rain-trees were planted in late Nineteen centuries in Mymensingh, Gouripur, Shambhuganj and Tea gardens but they are still surviving. The Big Rain-tree of Amail Tea estate (about 35 ft girth) and also some in Satgaon are growing well. Then it is easily understandable that the city weather is highly polluted and acid rain is the cause. Should the Department of Environment have any data about air quality of Dhaka and Chittagong cities? The industrial pollutants especially from the brick kilns around the cities are emitting sulphur dioxide and other poisonous gases are polluting the air causing harms to the trees and they are dying. Are the pollutants causing harm only to the speechless trees? Of course the inhabitants of the cities; hundreds and thousands are suffering from bronchial diseases, headache, and lung cancer etc. Where is the civil sense? The government should take immediate action against such pollution causing industries.

Indiscriminate plantations without respecting the habit and habitats or natural laws are causing huge damage of wealth every year. Sissoo plants can not tolerate water-logging even for short duration then why people are being advised for planting them along the roadside where they can suffer from water-logging? It is only for easy growing and showing success.
Since the wet season water-table of the cities are rising due to poor drainage system some deep rooted plants like Nageshwar and Acacia are dying. Some trees like Champa, Gamar and Chapalish etc. need association of other plants; in isolation they can not grow well but still certain institutions are spending huge money planting them here and there along the road side or avenue.

Perhaps you can remember that more than 1000 Thuja plants were planted under the flyover bridge at Mohakhali although those plants are highly sun-loving but now they are again replaced with Jhiri bot (Ficus sp.). Why did they not consider the habit and habitat of Thuja? Was it not a waste of public money?

Again, even the rural farmers know the plant to plant distance of coconut (minimum 20 feet), but you can see along the highway near Cantonment and Nikunja the spacing of coconut is only 8-10 feet but why? Are the coconut plants for ornamental, windbreaks or fruiting? If ornamental I have nothing to say but for windbreaks and fruiting it needs spacing 20 to 30 feet. You can also observe trees under the high tension lines, often pollarding by the PDB men, then why such plantings are done in the name of Save the environment? Why do they not maintain the safe distances from the structures, roads and highways and transmission lines?

Poor villagers are also been misguided by some agencies and planting Mahogany, Rain-tree, Acacia, Raj-korai (Albizzia richardiana) and Eucalyptus etc. in the rural homes to get short-term benefit leaving traditionally growing eco-friendly trees like Mango, Jackfruit, Blackberry, Kadam, Palmyra palm, Areca palm, Coconut and Ebony etc. Acacia and Eucalyptus are fast growing but their fallen leaves are not easy decomposable and do not allow undergrowth. The large canopy of Rain-tree shades huge area and disturbs growing of other homestead crops. Sometimes it becomes the reason of quarreling among the neighbors. Certainly the timber value of Mahogany is not superior to Jackfruit but Jackfruit gives additional fruit crop which can add food energy to our hungry people.

Indiscriminate plantation of some exotic trees caused huge damage during the strong winds of cyclones like Sidr and Aila. Uprooted and broken trees damaged houses, constructions and disrupted power transmission lines etc.

So, it needs to clarify by the responsible institutions to what extent are they maintaining our safety? Why are not be responsible/answerable for such damages. Again if some one claims as environmentalist, I ask him why he will not be answerable for planting trees in a place which is not suitable for that plant. Of course, plantation without considering plants’ habit and habitat is a punishable act and waste of public money. We must consider our environment first and it should be of national interest. So-called environmentalists cheap prescription drugs should respect the habit and habitats and laws of the nature. They should learn from the nature before claiming a naturalist or environmentalist. We should grow plants/trees according to their habit and habitat. Plant should be a crop for mankind, for environment and for utilization.

Again, let plant right trees at right place according to their habit and habitat.

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Director, CGEC International University of Business Agriculture and Technology Bangladesh

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