NGO creates mini forest in Mumbai

Forest developed over 7K sqft Ghatkopar land, which was barren.

Mumbai: A dense mini forest stands amid the sprawling city of Mumbai, within a mere period of four months. Nature Forever Society, an NGO working towards conservation of sparrows had taken a barren land of 7000 square feet in Ghatkopar in November 2018, which has now flourished with more than 6000 native forest plants, many of them up to 6 feet.

The NGO have taken four other sites in Mumbai, with the help of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to grow such mini forests to provide habitats for birds.

The mini forest at Ghatkopar now houses more than 40 native species of plants that provides fruits to the birds all year round, like Ficus species, Erythrina indica, Bombax insigne and Sterculia guttata among others. Such forests can have ecological sill extended up to around 4 kilometers providing refuge to native flora and fauna.

Mohammed Dilawar, president of Nature Forest Society, said that the forest was erected to minimise the practise of monoculture plantation prevalent in the city. “While working for conservation of sparrows, we realised that the main reason for their decline is lack of habitats. So we started the project to provide safe space for birds, insects and butterflies. In Ghatkopar, the plantation of saplings was started in November last year, which lasted for 15 days after which we carried out watering and weeding practices with the help of stakeholders for another 3.5 months,” said Mr Dilawar.

The plantation was carried out using Miyawaki method, which involves planting different trees and plants at close distances in a plot. The NGO stated that they have been carrying out plantation in other areas of Mumbai such as Jogeshwari, Malad, HDIL building in Andheri, Uttan near Mira-Bhayandar and Dahanu. As such, a total of 20,000 square feet land has been converted into green space in Mumbai.

“We have been getting lands from the BMC, which are mostly the municipal gardens. The areas are also between 2000 to 7000 square feet. Native plants were selected keeping in mind the requirements and feasibility in different regions,” Mr Dilawar added.

The NGO also provides training to stakeholders for maintenance of the plants. According to Mr Dilawar, a lot of homework was done before carry out the project, which included micro-mapping of habitats. “Even in Mumbai, there can be multiple suburban habitats with its unique soil ecology and environment,” he said.

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