Vocal for Local Trees: Plant Native Trees and Help Restore Ecosystems in our Cities

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During this Covid-19 pandemic, the one thing we have learned is that we must try and avoid another one. According to a report prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat one of the best ways to do that is to restore our ecosystems by bringing in more biodiversity. Read more: https://www.cbd.int/health/infectiousdiseases

Today we see an alarming decline of birds, butterflies, and other biodiversity within cities all around our country. This is an irreplaceable loss for our Nation.

One of the major causes is the planting of foreign plant species in our cities both by municipal landscapers and private citizens. This can and must be corrected immediately because wrong trees planted today will damage our environment for decades to come, causing ecosystems to decline and allowing pests and diseases to grow.  

Planting native Indian trees is a simple and effective way to bring our biodiversity back and create healthy and disease-free ecosystems in our cities. Commonly planted non-native trees like Gulmohar, Copperpod, Bougainvillea, Frangipani, Royal Palm, Eucalyptus, Silver Oak, Rain Tree, Lantana, etc. do not support our local biodiversity. These trees were imported into India during the colonial era, and decades later still continue to damage our environment. Many of these trees have assumed local sounding names, and often people mistakenly think of them as native, and some of them are even on our government’s native plant lists. 

By making better planting decisions, we can support our birds, insects and other biodiversity. For example, we can choose to plant a red flowering native tree like Palash that supports over a hundred diverse living species, instead of the commonly planted Gulmohar tree, a native of Madagascar, which supports only three species. Such small changes in planting decisions can have huge impacts on biodiversity. This is because specialised relationships exist between native plants, insects and birds. Local insects feed only on native plants that they have co-evolved with, and insects in turn feed birds and other fauna. According to the National Wildlife Federation, a decline in native plants is one of the biggest reasons for a decline in biodiversity.

This is an appeal to our Hon. Prime Minister, and our Hon. Environment Minister to support the “Vocal for Local Trees” initiative by putting out new rules that give preference to native trees in all government and municipal planting.

Please sign our petition to help bring back our native biodiversity and create a healthy environment for us all. 

Please look at the video above or visit www.therightgreen.org for more information on the ecological importance of native plants