OOTY: The Nilgiris district forest department has taken steps to plant 15,000 native shola tree saplings to increase the native and endemic tree cover in the hills.
As voices are growing alien and exotic tree species in the hills, it appears that the forest department in Nilgiris has taken the right steps in marching towards the native tree culture to nurture this habitat to make Nilgiris to become the heaven of native trees in future.
Now, the Nilgiris district forest division has raised 15,000 saplings of shola tree species, native and unique to the hills, in the various nurseries being maintained by them to plant these saplings in various places across the hills.
Stating that these shoal tree saplings, in many species, will be planted in the reserve forest areas as "in-fillings" to thicken the forest cover, Mr. Saravanakumar, the assistant conservator of forests here, said that this a new era approach to bring back the native tree cover to make these tree species adapt well to the hill ecology, is to aid slope stability and to sustain the micro flora and fauna that rely upon these native species to thrive.
Hailing the forest department for this effort V. Sivadass, managing trustee of Nilgiris Environment and Socio-cultural Trust, said that though the native tree and endemic tree species grow slowly and take time to take root, they would help improve the biodiversity.
These native trees would form a thick ground mosaic with fallen leaves to help in maintaining good soil moisture and for slow and steady percolation of water down the slopes helping in natural water management....