East Champaran reports highest no. of heritage trees in Bihar
State government had launched an app to collect details of such trees on World Biodiversity Day (May 22) this year.
West Champaran district in Bihar, home to the famous Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR), has no heritage tree while the neighbouring East Champaran district has listed 9,630 heritage trees, the highest number in the state, ever since the state government launched an app to collect details of such trees on World Biodiversity Day (May 22) this year, officials familiar with the matter said.
The initiative, launched by Bihar State Biodiversity Council, a part of the state’s forest department, is intended at creating a database of trees in the state which are more than 50 years old and hold special socio-cultural and religious importance, besides ecological significance.
As part of the exercise, the department has urged farmers, forest employees and officials, people’s representatives, students and researchers to upload on this app details and pictures of such trees in their areas.
So far, information about altogether 9,878 heritage trees in the state have been collected by the department.
The list shows Jamui having 58 such trees, Patna 16 and Madhubani six heritage. Buxar has no heritage tree in the list.
“Tree worship has remained a part of our life and culture and many of our festivals revolve around it. Still, we have been losing trees. People need to be made aware that loss of trees causes climate change. It’s already showing an impact,” Arvind Kumar Chaudhary, principal secretary, forest department, said.
“The database can be considered a kind of Panji of the trees. Those who want to know what kind of old trees we have in our state can get this information in no time,” he said.
The exercise is still under process as many districts are yet to provide details, he said.
Bihar has a number of trees with religious significance.
For example, the Charitra Van area in Buxar, which is believed to be the site of the Aashram of Sage Vishwamitra, the guru of Lord Ram, still has many old trees while the ancient Koteshwar temple of Lord Shiva at Belaganj in Gaya has been drawing attention because of a uniquely shaped Peepal tree located there.
Panthpankar, yet another old, uniquely shaped Paankar tree in Bathnaha block in Sitamarhi, is a part of the Ramayan circuit. This is believed to be the site where Sita had spent few hours while visiting Ayodhya from Janakpur after her marriage with Lord Rama.