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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Bihar government bid to save heritage trees, over 15,000 trees listed for verification

An android mobile application was launched and people were asked to feed information,location and pictures of the trees that have created a distinct ecological system around them

Dev Raj Patna Published 09.07.23, 06:01 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The Bihar government has started hunting for heritage trees to conserve them in a better manner.

Over 15,000 trees have been listed so far and the Bihar State Biodiversity Board (BSBB), a government agency, is now gearing up to send experts to physically verify the trees.

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The BSBB launched an android mobile application — Bihar Heritage Tree App — in March 2022 for the purpose and asked the people of the state to feed information,location and pictures of the trees that are at least 50 years old and have created a distinct ecological system around them by providing shade and shelter to people, animals, birds and insects; and also giving fruits, leaves or other produce.

It took more than a year for the common people across the state to become aware of the app and enter details about such trees.

“Entries of around 15,150 trees have come in the mobile app in the first phase. But age is not the only criterion for getting the ‘heritage tree’ status. They should be providing biodiversity, cultural, religious and social benefits,” BSBB secretary K. Ganesh Kumar said.

“We are now planning physical verification of the trees by officials from the state environment and forest department and the Botanical Survey of India, as well as, professors and students of botany. It will start next month. We already have the GPS coordinates and photographs of the trees,” Kumar added.

The botany professors and students engaged in the work will be given some incentive or remuneration for verifying every tree. Although there is no bar with regard to the variety of a tree, it must be at least 50 years old.

Once the experts are satisfied, the tree will be given the status of a ‘heritage tree’ and special efforts will be taken to conserve it for posterity through proper care and watering. It will be entrusted to biodiversity management committees across the state. The BSBB has proposed some remuneration per heritage tree for the purpose.

The BSBB also has plans to go for the carbon dating of the trees, which the experts find to be very old.

According to the state environment and forest department, the oldest known tree in Bihar is a banyan tree in Munger district, which is over 300 years old. The next is a more than 200-year-old pakad (Ficus virens) tree in Sitamarhi district.

The oldest known banyan tree in the world is at Narora in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh. Radiocarbon dating methods have determined its age to be around 450 years.

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