Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Other day when I was interacting with students of a local engineering college on the occasion of a seminar on environmental issues , a student asked me whether all the trees planted during previous Vanmahotsava programmes are established and if so why we have not sufficient area under tree cover ?

The simple question raised by this student confounded me making little uncomfortable for a while. Though I somehow succeeded in convincing him but while returning from college this question started bothering me .

Vanmahotsava or The National Tree Planting Programme or GREAT FOREST FESTIVAL was started in July 1947 after a successful tree-planting drive attended by national leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad and Abdul Kalam Azad in Delhi.

In the early 50's this movement was renamed by late Shri K. M. Munshi, the then Union Minister for Food & Agriculture. Real impetus to this programme was given in 1970 which was started by Gujarat state followed by other states.

We have been taking up tree planting programme for the last so many years in a big way .There is no concrete data available as how many trees were planted in a particular year specially in the last few decades and out of that how many really survived. In the recent times there has been an overwhelming increase or spurt of activities centering around tree planting programme during Van Mahotsava . Big announcement of planting million trees to combat global warming and environmental protection are being announced by Corporations/ Municipalities / NGOs .Lot many publicity in all media follows this and on one fine day of van mahotsava the ceremony takes off . Dignitaries and Celebrities with smiling faces (holding the poor seedling) remind us to plant trees for our future which become the headlines next day.

It is true but same time a sad state of affairs for the country that in most of the cases the tree planting programmes proves to be formality and publicity stunt. There will be hardly a few locations where the trees planted during Vanmahotsava survived with good number at least for a year .

This state of affair hardly gets attention of media and general public .In my opinion there is need for a little introspection in this issue. This is more relevant this year as India has been selected host of World Environment Day 2011 and further year 2011 has also been declared as International Year of Forests by UN.

International Year of Forests 2011

I could summarize few points which appear to be main factors for not making tree plantation programme a real success. Lot of success in the ongoing and ensuing planting programmes can be achieved if these small but important points are given due importance.

1. Lack of proper planning leading to adoption of temporary, unscientific, faulty methods like inadequate pit size, poor quality soil for plants, lack of watering facility etc. These all factors result into poor survival of the plant.

2. A quality seedling of desired species is another most important factor. It is however observed that most of the time this issue is not given due importance and whatsoever type of seedling (either crooked or undersized or weak) is available is used for planting which should be avoided. A general thumb rule for this is to use seedling having at least 3 feet height and reasonably thick stem (around 1 ” dia).

3. Other features of quality seedling include sturdy stem free from deformities, symmetrical crown, dense fibrous root system and free from diseases.

4. Real commitment and concern of all for this programme are two factors . All sections of society need to have the genuine realization about the need of tree cover and its importance.

5. Inadequate after care or maintenance specially watering and protection from animals.

Few tips for tree planting were also posted in following link.


  1. A very informative post. It is great to see IFS Officers such as you spreading the message of conservation through blog. Thank you for visiting my blog too!

  2. Dear Mr. Mohan,
    Good to know of the work and concerns of a Forest Officer. We would like to send you copies of a magazine we bring out called "Eternal Bhoomi". Please send us your postal address so that we can send some copies to you. Meanwhile you can also look up our website
    After seeing our magazine we would be happy if you think of writing an article for it. This magazine goes to over 4000 college and school libraries as well as subscribers.

    With best wishes,


  3. Interesting to find a forest officer's blog. Hoping you can contribute actively in preserving our forests today!

  4. Thanks Ms Seetha. Please enable your profile.

  5. Dear Sir, I have been seriously figuring out how to start planting trees. As an initial step, I distributed nearly 10,000 medicinal plants with the help of water board in my locality. If you have any plan for plantation,, then could you please inform me at Thanks for your wonderful articles.

  6. This is great thinking that plant trees. The students are doing a great job. If they realize the values of PlantWerkZ the trees. This will be most helpful for our environment.

  7. As we know that Pollution has became a great problem in this world . It is well said that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. It is possible to control it . It is in the hands of us . We should grow trees to control this pollution .



  8. Save forests and trees as they are always saving us