| Nov 30, 2021
Saving the trees that could save us from COVID
Indiscriminate cutting of trees
We all know that the COVID pandemic has thrown life out of the gear across the World. That vaccines are primarily a preventive measure and not cure for COVID affected people is becoming common knowledge. Moreover , there is an increasing awareness and public acceptance about the inability of modern medicine ( allopathy ) to offer cure to COVID affected population. As a result, there is growing interest in and intensive search for plant based medicines that could be used for treating COVID patients. There are many plants and trees those could be sustainably used and thus conserved to build immunity and treat major co-morbidities associated with COVID linked fatalities- diabetes.
Pterocarpus marsupium- is one such important medicinal tree with properties and active ingredients that could boost immunity and treat diabetes effectively. This tree used to be commonly found in the northern Western Ghats about a decade ago. Indiscriminate cutting of this species for planting cashew and earn livelihood by marginal farmers reduced its population to a low level and thus this tree was included in the list of globally threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN). If the trees is protected , it can reach a height of 30 meters and achieve a girth of 350 cms.
In order to arrest immediate decline in population of this tree and create opportunities to build on potential health benefits of this tree for humanity over the long term, we thought of using the campaign support to incentivise conservation of this important medicinal tree. Our team carried out survey in five villlages in the last quarter and mapped some 150 trees of this species in the last quarter in the Sangameshwar block. When our team talked to the farmers, many had plans to chop down these trees for planting cashews. Taking into consideration the market prices for its wood, we conceptualised a conservation agreement model for protecting these trees for a period of five years whereby the owners get the compensation for mature trees every year. In lieu they commit to protect not only mature trees of this species but also the young ones and the entire habitat of these trees. The farmers found this offer quite attractive. As a result, our team could save total 70 large mature trees of Pterocarpus marsupium through these agreements and some 5 marginal farmer families benefitted directly from this program.
In addition and as co-benefit of this arrangement , we could ensure conservation of many large trees of other species, birds ,butterflies and streams!
Hope you will find this conservation story interesting.
We would like to thank you for your contiuned interest in this campaign and unwavering support.
Thanks and take care.
Pterocarpus marsupium field survey-1
Pterocarpus marsupium field survey-2
Pterocarpus marsupium field survey-3
Tree conservation agreement-Pterocarpus-1
Tree conservation agreement-Pterocarpus-2
Habitat protection-co-benefit of tree conservation