Protection Of Heritage Trees In Maharashtra


Protection Of Heritage Trees In Maharashtra

News: The Maharashtra government will make amendments to the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act of 1975, to introduce provisions for the protection of ‘heritage trees’.


o A heritage tree will get special protection. Compensatory plantation– anyone cutting a heritage tree will need to plant trees in the same numbers as the cut tree’s age. The organization planting the compensation trees will also have to ensure the survival of the plantation for seven years and geo-tag the trees.
o In case compensatory plantation is not possible, the tree feller has to pay compensation for the economic valuation of the trees being felled.

What are Heritage Trees?

o Under the proposed amendment, a tree with an estimated age of 50 years or more shall be defined as a heritage tree. It may belong to specific species, which will be notified from time to time.
o Experts believe that in addition to the age, the state climate change department should also consider a tree’s rarity, its botanical, historical, religious, mythological and cultural importance in defining a heritage tree. The local Tree Authority will have to ensure tree census to be carried out every five years along with counting of heritage trees

Measuring age of trees:

o The most common method of determining the age of the tree is Dendrochronology – or tree-ring dating also called growth rings. Each year, roughly a tree adds to its girth, the new growth is called a tree ring. By counting the rings of a tree, the age can be determined.
o However, the process is invasive. To analyse the rings, core samples are extracted using a borer that’s screwed into the tree and pulled out, bringing with it a straw-size sample of wood. The hole in the tree is then sealed to prevent disease.

Provisions for Heritage Trees:

o As per the amendment, the number of trees planted will be equal to the age of the heritage tree that is cut. For instance, if a 52-year-old tree is to be felled, then the party felling the tree will have to plant 52 trees in compensation, with each compensatory tree at least 6-8 ft in height at the time of planting.
o The organization planting the compensation trees will also have to ensure the survival of the plantation for seven years and geo-tag the trees.
o Such plantations can be carried out either in the same plot or a common amenity plot. Through the introduction of a heritage tree, the state environment wants to discourage the cutting of heritage trees.
o The amendment has the fine for illegal felling of trees from a maximum of Rs 5,000 to Rs 1 lakh per tree.

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