Pune: Warje Urban Forest now a role model for the country

Warje Urban Forest
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Pune, June 4, 2020: World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on 5th June every year.  Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change celebrates WED focusing on the theme declared by UNEP and organizes several events.  This year’s theme is ‘Biodiversity’. In view of the prevalent situation due to COVID-19 pandemic the ministry will be holding virtual celebrations of World Environment Day on this year’s theme with focus on Nagar Van (Urban Forests).

Warje Urban Forest: In Pune city on the forest land of 40 acres a forest has been developed. More than 65000 trees, 5 ponds, 2 watch towers have been established, with many trees growing up to 25-30 feet. This year more trees would be planted. Today, the forest is rich in biodiversity with 23 plant species, 29 bird species, 15 butterfly species, 10 reptiles and 3 mammal species. Not only the Urban Forest project is helping maintain ecological balance, but also provides the Punekars a good walk way and a place to be for the morning and evening walkers. The Warje Urban Forest is now a role model for the rest of the country.

TERRE started work in 2015: Technology, Education, Research and Rehabilitation for the Environment (TERRE), which has developed Warje Urban Forest, stated on its website, “Pune city was famous for the green content. But, with the rapid growth and development the city is losing the city is tilting from green to grey. To fight and overcome this increased amount of pollution, TERRE has developed an Urban Forestry at Warje, which is one of the flagship projects of TERRE in the year 2015.

Warje Urban Forestry is the first ever urban forestry project in Maharashtra. Before developing it into forestry, it was around 16 hectares of barren land hill area of Forest Department and it caused many encroachments by slums and builders. To equalize the pollution with the clean air, TERRE came up with this initiative, Urban Forestry, where they used the land by Forest Department to convert it into Forestry.

Adopt plant in your name: The plantation includes around 23 indigenous plants species namely Banyan, Peepal, Sonchafa, Apta, Neem, Kanchan, Golden Banboos, Badam, Kaat, Amla, Umbar etc. Also, visitors have found around 29 local bird species, 15 butterfly species, 10 reptile species and 3 mammal species. The enthusiastic employees from both the organizations often visit the site for volunteering work. Also some other organizations and localites from Warje frequently gather and perform volunteering work. Also, inside the forestry, there is a provision of 2 huge water resources which are filled in rainy days and later the water is used for plants. In Warje Urban Forestry, there is a provision to adopt a specific plant in your name. Till date, many nature loving people have adopted plants in the memory of their loved ones.”

India has world’s 8 % biodiversity: India though having less land mass and more human and cattle population has nearly 8 percent of biodiversity. The country is endowed with rich biodiversity having several species of animals and plants and hosts 4 of the 35 global bio-diversity hotspots containing several endemic species. Biodiversity conservation has traditionally been considered confined to remote forest areas but with increasing urbanization a need has arisen to safeguard and save biodiversity in urban areas also. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change relaunched a scheme for creating urban forest in 200 corporations and cities because all these cities have gardens but not forest. The urban forest will help in creating and enhancing the lung capacities of these cities.

World Environment Day celebration: Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, will grace the occasion as Chief Guest. The programme will be available live on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzMQuhmheoo from 9 am on 5th June. The event will also see participation from Minister of State of Environment Minstry Babul Supriyo,Minister (Forest), Government of Maharashtra, Sanjay Rathe, the new Secretary, Ministry of Environment, R P Gupta, DG Forests & Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Sanjay Kumar, Executive Director, United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification, (UNCCD), Ibrahim Thiawand Executive Director United Nation Environment Programme(UNEP), Inger Ander Andersen. The dignitaries will join the event virtually which will be live on the following link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzMQuhmheoo .