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Heritage Trees

Heritage Trees

  • The Maharashtra government will make amendments to the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act of 1975, to introduce provisions for the protection of ‘heritage trees’.
  • Under the proposed amendment, a tree with an estimated age of 50 years or more shall be defined as a heritage tree.

Heritage trees

  • It may belong to specific species, which will be notified from time to time.
  • Experts believe that in addition to the age, the state climate change department (which will be implementing the Tree Act), should also consider a tree’s rarity, its botanical, historical, religious, mythological and cultural importance in defining a heritage tree.
  • The local Tree Authority will have to ensure tree census be carried out every five years along with counting of heritage trees
  • The most common method of determining the age of the tree is Dendrochronology or tree-ring dating also called growth rings.

  • Each year, roughly a tree adds to its girth, the new growth is called a tree ring.

  • By counting the rings of a tree, the age can be determined. However, the process is invasive.

  • To analyse the rings, core samples are extracted using a borer that’s screwed into the tree and pulled out, bringing with it a straw-size sample of wood.

  • The hole in the tree is then sealed to prevent disease.

  • According to the current Compensatory Plantation in the state, one sapling has to be planted for each tree that is cut.

  • In Mumbai, as per the Tree Authority set up in 1976, to help in regulating the felling of trees and providing for the planting of an adequate number of new trees through the Garden Department, the compensation ratios are 1:3.

  • As per the amendment, the number of trees planted will be equal to the age of the heritage tree that is cut.

  • For instance, if a 52-year-old tree is to be felled, then the party felling the tree will have to plant 52 trees in compensation, with each compensatory tree at least 6-8 ft in height at the time of planting.