Every one of us knows that the green cover of our planet has been depleting for last so many decades leading to thinning of the ozone layer and increase in temperature. We all know that the preservation of existing trees and planting new ones is one of the primary solutions of getting over the environmental crisis that mankind is currently facing. Even then very few of us are really doing anything.
Meet Vijay Nishanth from Bengaluru popularly known as Tree Doctor who through his Project Vruksha is trying to identify the trees in need of preservation and offering the necessary help. Incidentally, he is also one of the very few raising voices against the continued felling of the trees in the city.
Vijay Uses His Software Know-how To Track Trees
Hailing from Jayanagar located in Southern Bengaluru, Vijay grew up amidst a variety of trees old and new. The urban conservationist and animal rights activist used to identify trees and pick up their fruits in childhood. His love for trees motivated him to take a keen interest in nature conservation and he went on to become a part of Atree as an intern.
Vijay Nishanth also worked as a volunteer for almost a decade for the Forest Cell of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). When he realized that the trees were being cut off across Bengaluru and there was no account of the number of trees that were chopped he suddenly thought that there was a need to keep a track of it.
Vijay says, “I began to understand that there needs to be some tracking mechanism in place. I quit engineering and joined a friend’s company when I got the time to concentrate on environmental issues. I worked with a software company, which was into mapping houses.”
Vijay decided to use his knowledge at the software company and applied his ideas as well as techniques to track the trees that are being chopped through his website Vruksha.com founded in 2010. The Tree Man from Bengaluru received financial assistance from Ravi Kumar and another co-founder of Vruksha Shariff S developed an app that could help in the documentation process.
Vruksha.com Records Overall Health Of Trees
Vijay Nishanth and his friends initially tagged 115 trees in Jayanagar ward. They recorded and documented all the trees assessing them on the parameters of species, health condition, and height. At the start, BBMP took great interest in the project but due to political issues, the project did not get a green signal until 2013.
The Vruksha team mapped trees in Jayanagar, Byrasandra, and Pattabhiramanagar. Vijay says, “We got an iPad to record the images for the trees. It was considered a milestone in the city’s history and the project made it to the Bengaluru Darshana Book, which is an in-depth compilation tracing the city’s origins right from the ninth century.”
On the website, you can find pictures of medium to large trees that carry a symbol of a green tree. Saplings have a symbol of yellow trees whereas the free spaces are denoted by orange trees. Also, the group photographs and ranks each tree on the basis of its health, height, and thickness and all the details are recorded.
Vruksha.com also recommends the options that can be planted on free spaces at different locations. The website also carries a list of endemic and exotic tree species.
Tree Doctor Reveals The Way He Nurses Trees
Trees are living beings with their own heart and mind. Vijay found out that these trees were going through different kinds of stressful conditions and were facing harmful situations due to human activities.
Vijay says, “I began to think of ways to nurse the trees’ health back to life. This was something I taught myself to do. I started by cleaning and nursing the trees that I was mapping. I usually use orange oil or beeswax to stop the infection or to treat the wounds, and most trees recover within a month.”
Vijay aspires to establish a free clinic in Bengaluru some day. The idea of a tree clinic came to him when he found out some trees in the Marathalli region poisoned due to activities by man. More often people poison the trees with acid or lead for killing or cutting them.
All of us see such trees in depleted conditions. But very few really have the heart to think of them and take action to save such trees. That makes the work done by Vijay Nishanth and his group Vruksha.com really exceptional and highly appreciable.