By Abdul Manan
LAHORE: More than 50 percent poplar trees (Euramericana guinier) on the banks of canal have completed their average age (10 years) and need be replaced, because they can be hazardous to the environment and health, botanists and environmentalists told Daily Times.
They said, however, removal of the trees from the banks of canal would result in soil erosion and affect the city’s beauty.
More than 70 percent trees on the banks of canal are poplar while other species include jaman (Eugenia jambolana), shishum (Dalbergia sissoo), mango, amaltas (Cassia fistula) and Alphitonia excelsa.
They said, “The Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has adopted a better policy for tree plantation keeping in view the long-term environmental effects. Trees planted by the DHA have an average age of 50 years.”
DHA Public Relations Officer Tajjamul Hussain said the DHA had planted 10,000 saplings including sukh chain (Pongamioa pinnata), Magnolia (Magnoliax wieseneri), and amaltas.
Punjab University’s Botany Department Chairman Khan Rass Masood said most of the poplar trees on the canal had been planted thirty years ago. He said these trees should be removed. He said, “Rest of the trees should be replaced on time to avoid timber loss and environmental hazards. Trees are considered the lungs of Mother Earth, so they should be planted keeping in view their longevity.”
Before Partition, he said, pines (coniferous trees) – with an average age of 100 years, were planted at Khanas Pur. On The Mall pipal (Ficus religiosa) trees – with an average age of 400 years, were planted.
He said, “Before importing exotic species the government or private sector should keep it in mind that they will not affect the local flora. Some imported trees pollute the environment and emit volatile organic carbons.”
Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) spokesman Javed Shaida said the Forest Department had planted the poplar trees in 1990s on the canal. He said the PHA had stopped growing poplar in the city.
Forest Department Conservator Iftikhar Qureshi said the PHA was responsible for the removal and timely replacement of old trees.
Courtesy Daily Times