Every year, many people participate in plantation drives. But just planting any tree isn’t enough. Especially, the exotic ones (not native to a particular place) have proved to be of little help in environment conservation. Sadly enough, more number of exotic trees are found in Pune as compared with the native species.
Native species are those which naturally occur in given set of landscape & climate. They are climatically & ecologically appropriate varieties that have been co-evolving through adaptations for years with changing environmental conditions. They maintain & improve ecosystems, and are base of food for local fauna.
Exotic species are not native to a particular area. These species have been introduced by human activities to a location where they do not naturally occur. They are major ecological threat. When these non-native species cause ecological problems, they are termed as “invasive”. However, they do not really support local wildlife, and carry the inherent risk of overwhelming local biodiversity by spreading rapidly. Take for instance the ‘subabhul’ tree, which is not native to Pune. Since the seeds of the plant have a high rate of germination, the ‘subabhul’ tree generally tends to spread like wildfire. Exotic trees like Gulmohor provide shade but birds don’t build nest on such trees. Indian birds are not familiar with the exotic species and hence, it is important to plant indigenous trees,
However, the ratio of native to non-native trees in the city of Pune is negligible. In fact, some varieties like ‘dakshin moha’, ‘sada moha’, ‘padal’, ‘bija’ and ‘beheda’are a rare sight in the cities, though they can be found in abundance in the forests,”
For urban environments to support wild birds there is a need to protect mature, native trees, limit the number of exotic species planted and not insist on keeping gardens perfectly manicured. Do we want our plantations to look like green deserts devoid of any life? Lets start restoring our natural wealth.