Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary in Delhi to get 2nd native seed nursery | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary in Delhi to get 2nd native seed nursery

ByJasjeev G
Apr 03, 2023 02:37 AM IST

A tender has been floated by the forest department for the project at an estimated cost of ₹2.01 crore, and slated to be four times bigger than the existing one

The forest and wildlife department will develop a second native seeds nursery at the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary which will be able to produce around six lakh saplings in one go, officials said on Sunday.

The new nursery is being developed near the old one and a majority of the saplings produced will be utilised by the department as part of its annual plantation targets, officials said. (HT Photo)
The new nursery is being developed near the old one and a majority of the saplings produced will be utilised by the department as part of its annual plantation targets, officials said. (HT Photo)

A tender has been floated for the project at an estimated cost of 2.01 crore, and slated to be four times bigger than the existing one. It will largely plant eight rare tree species which are either native to Delhi or the Aravalli hill ranges, officials said.

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In 2021, the department developed its first native seeds nursery with an aim to regrow plants in their native place in prominent numbers.The nursery produces around 2 lakh saplings and is spread on a couple of acres.

The new nursery is being developed near the old one and a majority of the saplings produced will be utilised by the department as part of its annual plantation targets, officials said.

Delhi's Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary nursery project.
Delhi's Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary nursery project.

Like the first nursery, the latest one is also being developed by the forest department in collaboration with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), which had identified 22 native trees for conservation purposes in 2021. These included endangered native tree species Adusa (Malabar Nut), Barna (Three-leaf Caper), Dhau (Axle Wood Tree), Goya Khair (Sickle Bush), Gangeti (White Crossberry), Guggal (Indian Bdellium) or Gunja (Indian Ash Tree) among others.

Mandeep Mittal, Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF), South, said the new nursery will replicate the practices from the first nursery, but at a much larger scale, allowing the department to not only plant these native trees in Asola, but also in other parts of Delhi.

“After this new nursery becomes operational, we will be able to produce around 8 lakh saplings in one go, a lot of which can be either distributed free of cost or planted to meet our annual targets. This will ensure native species which are not seen as much in Delhi once again start returning in prominent numbers,” he said.

Sohail Madan, Centre Manager of BNHS at Asola, and said eight endangered native tree species will be the focus of the second nursery, which includes Bistendu (Bombay Ebony), Roheda (Desert teak), Barna (Sacred garlic pear), Sonjna Wild (Konkan Moringa), Salai (Indian olibanum), Kala Indrajao (Wrightia arborea), Kulu (Indian tragacanth) and Guggal (Indian Bdellium).

“This new nursery will act as an extension of the old one and allow us to preserve endangered native species and grow them at a much larger scale. While we have 190 beds at present, 900 more nursery beds will soon be added,” Madan said, stating seeds of these native species had been collected over a five year period from several states in order to build a seed bank.

The forest department requires around 100 labourers for setting up the new nursery and assist in activities such as watering the saplings, growing them during different seasons and seedling transplantation into larger pots.

“The tender is for the engagement of 100 labourers for raising a new nursery near the animal enclosure at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary at Tughlakabad for a period of one year under the south forest division,” according to the tender.

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Vijay Dhasmana, an ecologist and curator at the Aravalli Biodiversity Park in Gurugram, said while the species selected are important, it is essential to grow them in the right terrain. “Out of the eight species, barring Kala Indrajao, the rest are all rocky outcrop species. If planted elsewhere, they are unlikely to thrive. For instance, if Salai or Kulu get too much moisture, they will die and therefore, we need to start planting them in the right places. A native tree is important for the overall ecology and it also grows much faster and uses much less water than an invasive tree.”

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