With the concern of common people to save forests and trees increasing day by day, the green cover in the forest area in Indore and nearby districts have gone up. According to data from the forest department of Indore, more than 37 lakh trees have been planted in the last one year on forest land in Indore alone.

The forest department claims that that the survival rate of plants has also been remarkable. While an average of 87 per cent trees in Indore region planted in 2014 were surviving, 86 percent of those planted in 2015 were reported to be in good health. All the trees planted in the current financial year were surviving according to the last survey.

Similarly, plantations in other nearby areas like, Dhar, Jhabua, Khandwa, Barwani and Khargone and Burhanpur has also shown a similar trend.

While the area around Indore is not sensitive to forest crimes, villagers often use forest wood for household purposes like cooking. However, officials said that the number of such households that are dependent on forest wood is going down.

"With Ujjawala Yojna, we have been able to create awareness of LPG connections in houses. Which is why people's dependence on forest wood has gone down," said Purshottam Dhiman, chief conservator of forest, Indore forest division.

Dhiman also said that with the increase in recruitments in the last few years, the number of forest guards and rangers has increased and this has helped the department keep a check in forested areas.

Officials of the forest department also said that while earlier people did not show any interest in activities concerning conservation of forests, these days people have become aware and keep informing them in case of fire or crimes committed in forested areas.

Officials also said that products from forests like Mahua, Nimboli and bamboo have also gone up in the region. "Trees like Mahua are preserved by the villagers itself as they get a lot of business every year because of these trees," said RD Mallha, chief conservator of forest, Khandwa.

Officials said that the plantation of bamboos in the area has also gone up with villagers actively participating in the plantation schemes run by the government.

The forest department usually plants trees ahead of the monsoon. After these plantation drives, the department conducts a survey twice a year. Surveys are conducted twice a year in May and October to check the survival rate of trees.

Source: March 21, 2017, The Times of India