Lakhs of near-threatened tree species of Madhya Pradesh will be swaying along the roads of Indore as the forest department has roped in social stakeholders including schools, colleges and private organisations in protecting these species.
Half of these species identified by the forest department will become vulnerable if not conserved in the next one decade.
As per the joint study conducted by the Holkar Science College, Indore forest department and scientists from Botanical Survey of India, there are twenty-five tree species in Madhya Pradesh that are currently in the 'near threatened' category.
The forest department has prepared over one lakh saplings of these species in the biodiversity board and has distributed it to various stakeholders.
"We have prepared these saplings and donated to schools, city colleges including Acropolis, Holkar Science College, DAVV and others. Some saplings have been planted in our nursery and is also available for procurement," said chief conservator of forest PC Dubey, who pioneered the scheme before being transferred to Ujjain from Indore.
Dubey said that such extensive measures are being taken since 10% of the tree population of 25 species is no more available making it 'near threatened' as per IUCN standard out of which nine may become 'vulnerable' in next one decade if the loss percentage increases by 30-50%.
In another unique method for protection of threatened tree species in remote locations, the forest officials have empowered the local villagers to act as whistleblowers by providing routine information about these trees to the forest department thereby helping in conservation.
"They immediately inform us if anything happens to these species as we had created awareness on the importance and preset status of these trees," Dubey said.
Dubey said that the loss of these nine species will affect mankind which is dependent on these trees for a lot of activities and medicinal usage.
"These trees have medicinal value. Semecarpus anacardium (Bhilma) is helpful in curing skin diseases. Also, villagers use these trees for other commercial purposes like preparing Kattha, fodder and others," Dr DUbey said. Unscientific harvesting resulting in poor seed growth, extensive commercial and domestic usage have resulted in the reduced number of these species, officials claimed.