| May 13, 2019
Network of future giants for ecological integrity
Giant trees and stream network
Greetings from AERF!
Over the last two years, we have learned a lot about importance of and challenges associated with conservation of Giant trees. One of the important learnings has been that the large trees when standing in isolation are far more vulnerable to breaking down due to storm than when found in a group of trees. Thus we thought of mapping clusters of trees of medium and large size in Sangameshwar block. We focused on the species- Terminaila bellirica as this tree forms a large canopy and is preferred by big birds such as hornbills , eagles and many canopy dependent mamals such as civets, squirrels and monkeys. In addition these trees also attract bees for setting up hives. Importantly, these trees produce fruits that have medicinal value and if certififed, these fruits can generate sustainable income for local communities and which might prevent felling of these trees for short term needs of the owners.
AERF field staff mapped some 113 trees of different sizes that were found in groups. The owners of these trees were also identified and discussions were held about perceptions of the owners and their expectations.
Importantly, we also tried to understand two parameters that would influence the growth and survival of these trees a) overlap between the locations of these trees and the network of streams b) proximity of the trees to human settlements.
The proximity of the trees to human settlements will certainly influence the way these trees will be managed.
Thus it will be increasingly important to engage with local communities and understand their expectations for ensuring long term survival of these trees. As one can see from the map of the trees in the attachment, mosst of the trees are medium sized and few are very large.
It is our hope that with your support and continuous engagement with local communities, we will be in a position to set up a network of future giant trees across the Western Ghats.
Clusters of large trees if managed well could serve as stepping stones for many large bird species and canopy dependent mammals.
In the coming months, we will be engaging more intensively with local communities for communicating the importance of saving these trees for conservation of many rare species and in maintaining a healthy climate.
Thanks for your continued interest in the giant tree campaign.
Giant trees and human settlements.