Pushpa Gujral Science City celebrated Van Mahotsav by organizing a webinar on Role of Microbes in Sustainable Forest Management.Around 300 school & college students from all over Punjab participated through virtual mode.The progamme was sponsored by Department of Forests & Wildlife Preservation, Punjab. Dr. Vipin Parkash, Programme Coordinator (Forestry), Forest Research Institute, Dehradun was the key speaker. Delivering a talk at this occasion he said that soil microorganisms are important part of forest ecosystem and play an important role in sustainable development of forestry. Further, Microbial life has been present on earth for at least 3,500 million years and microbes also play numerous roles as silent partners in human activities such as forestry, agriculture, mining and water treatment. A balanced community of microorganisms is extremely important for trees health and plays a vital role in converting barren, poor quality land into cultivable land, he added.
Dr. Neelima Jerath, Director General, Science City giving introductory remarks at the occasion said that primary objective of Van Mahotsav week celebration is to bring awareness on the environmental issues and educate masses about the need of planting trees as these are one the best solution to control global warming. Whereas for maintaining the ecological balance in a country a minimum of 33% of land area is required under forests, in India the actual forest area is approximately 21.67 % only. However, with a Total Forest cover of 7,12,249 sq km, India is one of the ten most forest rich countries of the world and is one of the mega diverse countries and there is dire need to save flora and fauna to prevent forest degradation, she added. The major issue of concern is that the forest cover is not evenly distributed, for example, Punjab has a total forest area of 3.65% only out of which about 1% is very dense forest, 44% is moderately dense and 55% is open forest. This warrants a need to enhance the area under forests in the state.
Dr. Rajesh Grover, Director, Science City present at the occasion said that Science City is playing an important role in harboring rich floral biodiversity and maintaining cactus garden, herbal garden and avenue of rare endangered species. It has 5500 trees having rich cultural and heritage value at its premises. He emphasized the need to increase plantation activity in Punjab to increase forest cover to 15 % at least. Science City also organized two online competitions on “Plant Native TreeSpecies” and “Heritage Trees Contest” at the occasion to celebrate Van Mahotsav week. The results of the competitions will be declared on July 11,2021.