Gliricidia plants pose threat to local species

Planted over 15 yrs ago on hills to check soil erosion. Time to uproot them,but PMC waiting for govt approval

Written by Ajay Khape | Published: June 17, 2012 1:00:12 am

Planted over 15 yrs ago on hills to check soil erosion. Time to uproot them,but PMC waiting for govt approval

Over 15 years after it was planted on most of the city hills to check soil erosion,gliricidia species of plant is now hampering the growth of local plant species,says a study.

Environmentalists are demanding replacement of gliricidia with local species as its life span is nearing end and it is also not contributing anything to the ecology system. The civic administration on its part,though well aware of the problem,is awaiting the government nod before taking any action.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the forest department jointly look after the city hills reserved under Biodiversity Park (BDP) category.

“Over 15 years ago,under the drive undertaken to avoid soil erosion,gliricidia species was planted in large numbers because of its soil retention quality. However,after 15 years their life is now considered to be over,” said city NCP chief and Rajya Sabha MP Vandana Chavan.

She said the green cover will be affected if the civic administration does not take up another major tree plantation drive.

“I have brought the situation to the notice of the civic administration. We need to plant local species,” she said.

Ravindra Purandare of Green Hills Group said the situation is serious as in the last monsoon around 70 gliricidia trees on Vetal hill got uprooted.

“The gliricidia species is found to adversely affect the growth of local plant species. Its roots spread very fast leaving no space for other species. It has also been observed that infection from glericidia affect the growth of local species,” he added.

A study has revealed the problems due to large plantation of gliricidia species,a civic official said.

“Environmentalists have raised the point to replace the species on the city hills but it cannot be done with immediate effect,” he said.

The proposal to replace gliricidia plant species with local plant species is pending with the Union government,he said adding,“The PMC cannot replace the gliricidia species by chopping trees,we can remove them only by uprooting them. We would begin the programme only after the Centre nod.”

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