BCRT Inspires

 

"Tree Plantation Programme at the M. S. University of Baroda"

 

Subhankar Roy Barman and Chandra Prakash

 

Centre for Genome Research, Dept. of Microbiology and Biotechnology Centre

The M. S. University of Baroda, Vadodara - 390 002, India,

Website: www.msubiotech.ac.in

 

The importance of having plants around us need not be explained since everybody realizes that our breathing, food, clothing, lodging, protecting the top soil, environment and altogether survival of the animals are heavily dependent on them. The trees can not only invite good rain, health and prosperity but also can protect us from natural calamities like heavy rainfall, storm etc. Thus, "we can't live without plants". A bunch of young students and scientists working with Prof. Bharat B. Chattoo (leading biologist M. S. University of Baroda, Gujarat; http://www.msubiotech.ac.in/Bbc.htm) observed that there are hardly any young trees in the campus. The top soil has no green cover around the department and in the University campus per se, quite a few of the older plants either could not survive strong wind or have been removed for the need of mankind in the University. However, no saplings have been planted instead to enrich the greenery. Analyzing the need, the initiative of tree plantation drive was taken up by this group encouraged by Prof. B. B. Chattoo in the campus. As part of tree planting programme, we have planted saplings from various tree species including gulmohar (Peltophorum pterocarpum), arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) and ashoka (Saraca indica) trees have been planted in and around campus from 2000 to 2006. Everybody took part cheerfully in the tree planting programme and the trees have been taken care of regularly. The growth of trees has motivated entire University community to conduct tree planting programs regularly.

 

 

 In addition of greenery, plants do carry lots of other values to man kind and environment (Maathia 2003; Gadgil 2006; Gowda et al. 2006). Some of the trees planted at M. S. University campus are used as traditional medicine in India. The traditional herbal healers use the leaves of Gulmohar (Oudhia 2003) in the form of decoction, to wash the unhealthy skin. It is commonly used in treatment of skin troubles. The healers use its fresh leaves also for this purpose. It is frequently used in treatment of ringworm. The traditional healers use this herb as major ingredient in popular herbal combinations used internally in treatment of constipation. The leaf decoction is used in treatment of stomatitis. The patients are advised to gargle with this decoction. Its bark is also used for this purpose. The healers also use its flower in treatment of insomnia. The bark of Arjuna (Oudhia 2003) is astringent, sweet, acrid, cooling, aphrodisiac, cardiotonic, urinary astringent, expectorant, alexiteric and is useful in fractures, ulcers, cirrhosis of the lever, hyperhidsis, otalgia and hypertension. Ashoka (Amitendu De 2004) is used in treatment of excessive uterine bleeding is extensive in India. The plant is used also in dysmenorrhoea and for depression in women. Bleeding from piles is reduced with the plant. In the commonly used doses side effects are rare. Larger doses may cause constipation. The extract has cardiotonic action in frog and dog.

 

 

 

 

 

        















                          Prof. B. B. Chattoo and his team at MSU involved in making green campus



BCRT Tree……..

 

What happened behind the curtain? When we started doing research at M. S. University (1998-2002), we worked with Dr. Malali Gowda during the period of in the laboratory of Prof. B. B. Chattoo. The idea of biodiversity conservation had struck in young minds during a tea-time break. We strongly felt that there has to be a non-profit organization to protect the natural resources in India. Both these people shared many thoughts not only in regard to afforestation and medicinal plants but also present-day life science. Subsequently, Biodiversity Conservation and Research Trust (BCRT: http://www.bcrt.org; http://www.farmedia.org/bulletins/bcrt.html) was successfully founded by Dr. Gowda in 2001, at Anuganalu, Hassan, Karnataka. It is inspiring to us that Dr. Gowda used part of his savings from his Ph.D fellowship and small donation from his friends and family members to start tree-planting activities when he was still involved in his Ph.D work at The M. S. University. BCRT team used a simple and age-old approach of afforestation to plant local trees on the barren rocky land at Anuganalu with the help of local manpower (farmers and students). In the year 2003, MSU research team had visited BCRT campus and was impressed with the BCRT developmental work which took place over a short period of time. To our surprise, BCRT created a forest on the barren and rocky land within few years of its coming into existence using a very simple technique called afforestation (http://www.bcrt.org/afforestation.htm). Now BCRT is carrying out various environment and forest related activities (http://www.bcrt.org/projects.htm; http://www.farmedia.org/bulletins/bcrt.html). In June 2006, BCRT work was recognized by Karnataka State Government by awarding Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam Environmental Award to BCRT. The work done by BCRT to restore the barren land into pristine forests of Western Ghats in short period is a great inspiration in this endeavour (http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/xp/Hotspots/ghats).  

 

BCRT Tree Branches….

 

The ray-of-hope forest restoration work by BCRT inspired MSU team. BCRT green work inspired us to spreading BCRT in the States of West Bengal (Coordinated by S Roy Barman) and Uttar Pradesh (Coordinated by Chandra Prakash). As part of BCRT team, we hope to save forests and rivers like Ganga for future generations.

 

We welcome you if wish to volunteer with BCRT team to make your locality green. For more information contact us at sroybarman@gmail.com (Subhankar Roy Barman) and azadcp2004@gmail.com (Chandra Prakash) or info@bcrt.org.

 

Reference

 

1. Amitendu De, Arya H P S, Tudu Babulal and Goswami A (2004)  Indigenous technical knowledge in animal husbandry. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Vol. 16, Art. #59. (http://www.cipav.org.co/lrrd/lrrd16/8/arun16059.htm).


2.Gowda M et al (2006) Afforestation Approaches for Restoring Rainforest - A Case Study CAAM Bulletin, 50: 1-11 (http://www.farmedia.org/bulletins/bcrt.html)


3.Gadgil M (2006) Ecology is for the People: A Methodology Manual for People's Biodiversity Register: http://www.nbaindia.org/pbr/pbr.htm.


4.Maathai W (2003) The green belt movement sharing the approach and the experience - new and expanded edition. Lantern Press, New York, pp117 (http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/)


5.Oudhia P (2003). Medicinal herbs of Chhattisgarh, India having less known traditional uses 64. Peela Gulmohar (Peltophorum pterocarpum, family: Ceasalpiniaceae). Research Note 395 (http://botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/395_peela.html).


6.Oudhia P (2003) Traditional Medicinal Knowledge about medicinal herbs Koha (Terminalia arjuna) and Sarphonk (Tephrosia purpurea) in Chhattisgarh plains, India, Research Note 64 (http://botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/64_koha.html).