Monday, November 26, 2007

Metal guard to protect sandal trees launched

Metal guard to protect sandal trees launched

Bangalore: A professional sandalwood smuggler takes just three minutes to reduce a fully grown sandalwood tree to a stump.
The forest department has finally woken up, after an attempt was made to cut five sandalwood trees from the Institute of Wood Science and Technology, adjacent to Aranya Bhavan.
It has come up with an idea — metal tree guards — to prevent the smuggling of sandalwood trees. These guards will act as a deterrent to the smugglers. On a pilot basis, metal tree guards will be wrapped around sandalwood trees in the Gandhada Kote Guest House, situated on the banks of Sankey Tank (earlier known as Gandhada Kote kere). Apart from the forest guest house, the premises also houses IFS quarters.
In the first phase, 50 trees at Gandhada Kote will be covered with the guards. Depending on the success, other trees in forest department properties will be covered.
Care will be taken to ensure that the iron rods of the ninefoot-long guard does not damage the roots and curtail the growth of the stem. Also, it will be placed in such a way that water percolation is not affected. The tree guard will be painted light brown, similar to the colour of the tree stem.
“The idea is to protect the trees from being cut and smuggled. Bangalore has a large sandalwood tree population, which is vulnerable to poaching,’’ said an official attached to the Bangalore Urban forest division. The official said this initiative had already attracted many people. The Institute of Wood Science and Technology has shown interest in acquiring the guards.
The guard is nine feet long and one-and-a-half feet wide
It costs between Rs 3,600 and Rs 4,000
Apart from Gandhada Kote Guest House, sandalwood trees are found in Turahalli forest area, Bangalore University campus, IISc campus, GKVK campus, HMT premises, Institute of Wood Science and Technology campus and Iblur Army firing camp on Sarjapur Road


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