Heartfulness Institute located at Kanha Shantivanam, Hyderabad has successfully completed a milestone of translocating over 1,000 trees in just over a year. The institute replant the latest batch of 120 coconut trees aged around 15 years from Karur District, Tamil Nadu.
Sixty trees in the recent batch arrived at Kanha Shanti Vanam on Saturday and the Heartfulness team successfully replanted them within the Shri Ram Chandra Mission premises in Kanha Shantivanam, Hyderabad. With this the Institute achieves the rare distinction of having undertaken such a massive initiative of relocating and nurturing the trees.
Commenting on the achievement, Kamlesh Patel, also known as Daaji, the fourth Global Guide of Heartfulness said, “Trees are the single most important assets on this planet and their role and usefulness are beyond measure. Apart from preservation of the planet itself in the physical sense, trees also exude spiritual qualities that help preserve and retain divinity and create the required balance on a different level. It is therefore important that the number of trees is increased, and more importantly existing trees are protected from being destroyed. One tree saved is equivalent to hundreds of them being planted.”
Relocation and replanting of mature trees is a very complex, technical and often costly process. Trees are mostly displaced because of development and need to be very delicately handled to ensure their survival. The soil around the tree for 4 to 5 feet diameter width and depth is first dug, then the roots are delicately cut, and the tree is loaded for transportation along with a huge quantity of soil.
Retention of the soil around the tree is critical, and utmost care is taken during transportation to ensure that the soil does not come loose and the roots are not damaged. At the destination, the trees are then gently placed into a large prepared pit along with the original soil, and then allowed to gradually acclimatise, under intense observation and care including addition of root promoters and water retainers (hydrogel) until the pit is covered up. This process takes 1 to 2 months if a tree is successfully transplanted.
At the Institute, the ongoing Green Kanha initiative is continuously save these trees from destruction, as well as planting new ones on a large scale. The organisation is planning to work closely with governments, corporates and individuals to increase awareness of the cause as well as to contribute towards the effort. Says Daaji, “Only a collective effort can help reduce the risk we are in today of facing a dire situation due to the rapid destruction of green cover. Heartfulness Institute has made a significant beginning and we are hopeful over time that we will have more support from the state, corporations and individuals towards saving the trees.”
Over the last three years, as part its focus to make the area totally self-sustainable, Heartfulness Institute has transformed the rocky, dry and arid land of Kanha Shanti Vanam into a green space. Through relentless efforts, the tree count in the region has increased manifold, the variety of species multiplied to encourage plant diversity, the ground water recharging capability increased by creating artificial ponds for rainwater harvesting, hive boxes installed to attract bees and help speed-up the cross pollination, and flowering plants have been included to attract butterflies.
Along with these initiatives, for the first time in 120 years of the drought prone region, attracted good rainfall last year, benefiting the neighbouring villages as well. The aesthetics of the region is now more pleasing to the eye, birds come to the ponds, and there is also economic activity in the villages due to activities at Kanha Shanti Vanam and the requirements of greening the space.
The 1,000+ trees rescued and replanted so far include: avenue trees more than 8 years old, fifteen 150-year- old banyan trees from road widening projects along Tumkunuta Highway in Telagana, twenty 25- to 50-year- old Peepal trees, 120 coconut trees from Krishnagiri and a similar number from Karur district.
Over 1,20,000 saplings and trees have been planted, with an aim to increase the number to 2,00,000 in the next year, 675 species have been planted to increase plant diversity, 150 bee hives have been installed to ensure an increase in the bee population, A dozen water harvesting ponds have been created to recharge the ground water across the facility and a radius of several kms around the area.
Along with these initiatives, in 2017 significant rainfall fell in the region for the first time after 120 years of drought like conditions.
Every year, across the country millions of trees are cut, creating a huge ecological imbalance and with it increased risks to the existence of the planet. Indiscriminate cutting of trees leads to immeasurable ecological, social, cultural, aesthetic and financial loss. Various studies indicate that trees:
- Reduce air pollution: in 50 years one tree can remove 30 tons of pollutants from the air;
- Save energy: the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room- sized air conditioners operating 20 hours a day;
- Preserve life by providing a habitat for wildlife, butterflies and bees, leading to cross pollination; and
- Help immensely in managing storms, flooding and water recharging, among many other benefits.