The survival rate of transplanted trees in Delhi drastically comes down after the first year due to multiple reasons, including limitations of the tree transplantation policy, the city government's Forest department found during an in-house audit conducted recently.
The tree survival rate after one year of transplantation is up to 90 per cent. It drastically drops to 38 per cent after three years, a senior Forest department official, requesting anonymity, told PTI.
Data collected after a preliminary audit and submitted to Delhi High Court in May last year showed that only 33.33 per cent of the 16,461 trees transplanted in the national capital over the preceding three years had survived.
The Delhi government's tree transplantation policy states that agencies concerned must transplant a minimum 80 per cent of the trees affected by its development works. The benchmark tree survival rate at the end of one year of transplantation is 80 per cent.
A three-member committee set up to identify the reasons for the poor survival rate conducted a site-specific detailed inspection from October to February, another official said.
"The survey, which included a moderate sample size, found that the tree survival rate comes down from up to 90 percent in the first year to 38 per cent after three years. This is because the maintenance responsibility of the technical agency in charge of transplantation is limited to one year of the completion of tree transplantation. Lack of proper maintenance results in the death of the trees," the official quoted above said.
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"In our report submitted to the government, we have recommended tweaking the tree transplantation policy to make it mandatory for the technical agencies to maintain the trees for at least three years," he said.
The three-member committee also found that some project proponents had transplanted the same trees twice, adversely impacting their survival rate.
"Among the transplanted trees, ficus has the best survival rate (up to 75 percent) and neem has the worst, almost nil. We are looking into the reasons behind this," the official said.
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