This is quite straightforward question and not a difficult one. The first statement (Rapid urbanisation is an inevitable truth of the 21st century) gives you the context or the background against which you have to base your answer. The second statement (Urban forestry and highlight its link with India’s urbanisation strategy) gives you your topic of the question.
Briefly give introductory statement regarding rapid urbanisation in India and how it is affecting the health of the area. Then introduce the concept of urban forestry and define it. Give salient features of the concept in separate heading.
Discuss its need and positive effects on India’s urbanisation strategy. Don’t forget to mention few challenges in urban forestry in Indian urban centres.
To score brownie points, give some suggestions, as in how to effectively inculcate the urban forestry planning with the development of Indian urban centres. Make it simple and unique.
Urbanisation is a logical and well anticipated consequence along the development of the cities. On a path of accelerated urbanization, India is going through substantial changes in its land cover and land use. The environmental consequences of the rapid growth of cities are starkly apparent. Urban expansion has degraded and destroyed natural habitats across most Indian cities and small towns. In this backdrop, Urban Forestry holds significance.
Concept of Urban Forestry is:
Raising and management of trees on private or publicly owned lands in and around urban centres for the purpose of improving urban environment.
Urban forestry includes the management of individual as well as groups of trees.
Urban forestry is also not restricted to trees that have been planted. Many urban trees may have established naturally, although in an environment in which competition for land is high, they are unlikely to survive long unless actively cultivated and managed.
Urban forestry also includes the management of forests at the urban fringe.
Benefits of Urban Forestry with India’s urbanisation strategy:
Trees contribute to reduce the cost of building the stormwater drain systems for municipalities and neutralizing urban heat island effect.
Plants not only provide shade but also help in regulating microclimate. They help regulate energy budgets, improve air quality, and contain noise pollution.
Trees,herbs,shrubs,andgrasses arrest sedimentation andotherpollutants from entering our water systems.This Will Give a chance for our urban lakes and rivers to recover and help improve on aquatic ecosystems.
Biodiversity also gets a boost through the urban forests and helps create corridors connecting the forested areas.High Biodiversity areas can also help to build resilient ecosystems.
Availability of forests within our urban are as gives an opportunity for children to connect to natural environment and learn about native species.
Apart from that, the urban forestry has its economic value for the urban space as well, with its many residues like fruits, timber and fuelwood. It also includes non marketable services like carbon dioxide sequestration, oxygen emission, rainfall interception, dust retention, biodiversity conversation etc.
Challenges in Urban Forestry:
Mass tree plantation,often leaves high tree mortality rates; harsh growing conditions also make sapling survival an achievement.
Systematic and wise planning of tree plantation is missing.
Focus has been given to ornamental trees which serves no purpose in terms of ecological value. Though they give greenery to the visuals, they have practical no use.
Native species of trees are being overlooked while introducing invasive alien species which threaten the existing green cover in few years.
Space crunch is one of the biggest obstacles in this development-focussed world.
Another issue associated with the land is the overuse of the park and the natural spaces; encroachment of land also needs to be checked.
It is a challenge to create urban forests in a city like Mumbai where we cannot move in different directions.
Identifying and recycling of Brownfield sites (land previously used for industrial purposes or some commercial uses) in the city into green spaces/food forests.
Public–private partnership (PPP)programme can be designed to involve the forest landholdings within the city area to be developed into urban forests.
Corporates can also align their corporate social responsibility (CSR) plans in restoring and maintaining the urban green spaces.
Careful planting and choice of species, regular maintenance and a clear line of responsibility for dealing with dangerous trees would help to increase human safety.
There has to be coordinated and collaborative efforts from all strata of the society like academic entities, public and private sectors, volunteer groups and individual citizens.
Plan for urban forestry should be integrated into overall planning of the urban areas in advance.
Urbanisation at a rapid pace is a reality at present. Urban Forestry is an important contributory factor in the cities for environmental enhancement, control of air and noise pollution, microclimatic modification and recreational purposes of the urban population. Before the city expands further a proper plan for greening in the city especially with respect to land availability in the form of parks and gardens, forest patches and roadside plantation should be in place. Such steps will revolutionize the cities not only by making them technologically stronger but also ecologically resilient.