Tuesday, October 23, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Analysis of Green Cover of Pune

Dear All, 

JM road Pune
In continuation with my last blog regarding the studies on the local environmental concerns in Pune under the Sustainably Smart Pune 2030 project, I will share some findings from the analysis of green cover in Pune based on landuse classification. 

According to the 2007 landuse classification, green areas are integrated under various land use categories and so it is difficult to get actual numbers on green cover from the landuse classification table. For instance, gardens and playgrounds both are clubbed under the category of recreational spaces. The problem is gardens have major vegetated areas also called as softscape area, while playgrounds consists majorly of non vegetated areas also called as hardscape areas, sometimes there is just exposed ground or some playgrounds have paved areas or structures as well. 

In order to just get an rough estimate of the green cover in the city based on the landuse classification I summed up all the areas under the following landuse categories i.e recreational spaces, hills, agriculture and water bodies, and assumed hardscape areas to be about forty percent. The net green cover was found to be 15% of the total land area of the city. This figure is 5% less than the green cover required for the city as per the National Forest policy i.e. 20% at the city level and 33% at the country level. In a way, we can say that the green cover in  our city is inadequate.

According to the tree census data in Pune we have around 38,60,055 trees. Considering the 2011 population data, we seem to have one tree per person. In order to have better quality of life, we require seven to eight trees per person, so the tree cover in the city is also found to be inadequate. 

Further to this study, according to a compilation on habitat type and change in landuse by a local NGO RANWA it is seen that in the span of 50 years from 1950 to 2000, we have converted original landscapes like forests, riparian areas and wetlands completely to either agriculture or human habitation. See the below chart for reference. 
Source: Ranwa website

We need to preserve vegetation in our city not only for living a healthy lifestyle but also because vegetation plays an important role in moderating the microclimate in the city by acting as carbon sink, enables ground water recharge, provides shade, and conserves biodiversity. However just planting some random trees is not the solution. The strategy should be focused on plantation of predominantly native tree species, shrubs and ground cover so as to maintain or restore the integrity of the local ecosystem with its original biodiversity. 

More on the biodiversity part in the next blog!

Pournima Agarkar. 


Nachiket Patwardhan said...

Can citizens be organised to ensure that i) designated open spaces REMAIN open, ii) ALL streets have pavements iii) more trees are planted iv) waste is recycled? v) active steps are taken to implement amendment 74? Can these objectives be achieved by a system that is NOT obstructed by the existing powers?

pournima said...

Thanks for the suggestion. Yes we can do it as citizens could you please share you contact details with me on pournima@samuchit.com. So that we can take this ahead!