Life in the city is tough, and not for humans alone. Experts from the Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun, say trees at Delhi's prime location, the Central Vista, "give an impression that they are under stress".
The experts have prepared the health report card of 1,864 trees in the Central Vista. Of these, 770 are diseased, 566 have physical injuries, 322 are deformed and 107 are dead or decaying, says their report. A total of 793 trees were found healthy.
FRI's experts, in their interim report to the New Delhi Municipal Council, have identified the factors leading to the trees feeling 'stressed': fixing electric cables or wires, nailing, de-barking, scratching names on barks, tugging at branches and seedlings, public functions or construction activity, dust, vehicular exhaust.
Since the majority of the trees at Central Vista were planted between 1912 and 1930, time too has taken its toll on their health. "The soil has become very compact due to the heavy movement of people," says the report. "The compactness blocks aeration and does not allow water to percolate..."
Apart from recommending that 107 trees in Central Vista be replaced, the FRI has suggested de-stressing measures like pruning to increase the trees' life spans. The institute has specifically recommended that the deformed jamun seedlings along Rajpath be replaced.
"The seedlings are not growing straight - this may be on account of unenthusiastic pruning for faster growth or on account of injuries by passersby," says the report.