Delhi Continues Efforts to Save the Ridge:

In Delhi, India, there’s been a recent re-emergence of a pro-active urban forestry culture, and for good reason. Boasting a population of over 16 million residents, Delhi is a growing capital city. Composed of a “series of low hills extending in two branches to cradle the city, the Ridge…serves many valuable ecological functions, protecting Delhi from the dust of nearby Rajasthan, lowering the ambient temperature, cleaning the air, sheltering flora and fauna, and – perhaps most importantly – filtering and preserving groundwater in a parched city.”

Historically, efforts to protect and preserve the lush dense forest cover have ebbed and flowed in public consciousness, beginning in 1979 with the founding of Kalpavriksh. “In 1992, Kalpavriksh joined with several other organizations to form the Joint NGO Forum to Save the Ridge, which included major groups like the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). The Forum helped mobilize school and neighborhood organizations, and publicized the cause…”

Within the past several years, a new generation have taken a foothold in the Save the Ridge” movement  to protect their valuable “green lung”, and the efforts are notable, but the struggle against developments, and governmental loopholes is real.

A plan developed by the Delhi forestry department stated, “There is a need for a young and passionate forestry consultant to study the soil and weather conditions, select plant species and monitor the restoration work. The department needs a technical expert for electronically mapping forest land and encroachment.”

Since then, the department has set up a conservation Education Centre to develop awareness and educate on the rich biodiversity of the Delhi Ridge. In order to conserve more areas of the ridge, the Delhi Govt in association with the DDA has developed the 692 acre Aravalli Biodiversity Park.

With 40% of the original forest footprint destroyed, more assertive, and effective action plans must be taken. Kalpavriksh’s present efforts include, “…working with the Delhi Government to streamline the tree helpline, to activate the tree authority and to suggest measures that can make the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act more meaningful.”