Regd. Office: Revathi Bhavan, Edathala P O, ALUVA-683561. Reg.No.: ER 18/10 of 2010 Telephone No.: 0484-2837414


The Cochin Natural History Society is a non-profit making, non-political charitable institution registered under the Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955. This is a society of amateur naturalists who live in harmony with nature and seek to protect and to preserve the biodiversity and healthy natural environment. The mandate of the society is to undertake studies and documentation of biodiversity around us and to draw attention to the aesthetic, economic, scientific and conservation aspects.The society also intends to provide a platform to those who are concerned to come together and share, enlarge and correct our knowledge about Nature and its magnificence. Any person, who has a love, interest and commitment towards conservation of our biodiversity and natural history may become a member of the society*.

"You can know the names of a bird in all languages of the world,but when you are finished ,
You will know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird.....
So let`s look at the bird and see what it`s doing --that`s what counts.
I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."

-Nobel Laureate Richard P Feynman(1918-1988)

Friday, July 3, 2020

Afforestation drive in HMT Campus in Kalamassery- faulty implementation


General Technical Manager (MTK)
Machine Tools Division, 
HMT Limited,
HMT Colony P.O. Kalamassery 683 503,
Ernakulam Dist.

Dear Sir, 

Sub:-   Afforestation drive in HMT Campus in Kalamassery-  faulty   implementation  - reg.

This has reference to the move now underway in the Kalamassery campus of  HMT Limited, to  plant  trees in a haphazard  manner, especially large numbers   of teak saplings in a monoculture fashion.

We deeply appreciate the  initiative   of the HMT Limited and the Kerala Forest Department, to plant trees in  the HMT campus  (even as it is necessitated    by the obligation  to plant trees, in lieu  of large areas  of natural  tree cover mowed  down for Kochi Metro  Casting yard) . We are also  very much concerned that the move is an ill executed and done  in a  completely unscientific and haphazard manner, probably wasting public resources on an ill conceived scheme.


A large part of  the area where tree saplings are now  planted is an ecologically degraded land area – which was degraded in the first  place by mowing  down the largely undisturbed patch  of natural tree cover ,for the metro casting yard.

This calls for an approach applying the principles of ecological restoration.

We are very much concerned  that a large area of the land is planted  with teak saplings in a monoculture plantation fashion.

 This is a completely ill thought out move-so to say.  We tried to talk to the senior Officials  of both HMT limited, and the Social forestry Division, Ernakulam, and expressed our concern over the manner in which the tree planting is being done  and especially the decision to plant teak trees in a monoculture plantation mode.   The  reason expressed by these officials is that it will  economically benefit for HMT Ltd., as and when the plantation can be cut and sold.

Teak is a notoriously water guzzling tree species - even more so than the  eucalyptus and wattle .

Teak plantation depletes the ground water table  of this area, thereby affecting the water security and livelihood of the people  of the surrounding area.

The argument that it will economically benefit the HMT ltd, is also a fallacy  as it will take 50-60 year for trees to grow large  enough to be economically beneficial, by the time which,  the plantation will  have depleted enough ground water to cause serious  damage to the environment.This is unpardonable as  we all are facing mass extinctions,  unprecedented floods and droughts and many other ecological and environmental catastrophes ,in the face of which we cannot bring more damages to the environment, by our thoughtless actions.

One more thing is that the teak tree plantations  suck up all nutrients from the soil so much that the area planted  will be barren and damaged ecologically  beyond repair, whereby other trees and plants won't be able to grow healthy.

Another thing  we noticed is that the saplings already planted are of inferior quality apparently ,as they are already showing signs of wilting.

Therefore we propose that ,

The unscientific tree planting drive be stopped forthwith.

The services  of  ecological restoration experts in planting of the trees may be obtained.

The trees suitable for the elevation, agro climate conditions, soil nature,and the ecological niche  be selected as per the  advice of the experts.

Principles such as associated species and complementary species  be observed while planting is done.

Indigenous, threatened  and endemic species suitable  for are may be selected for planting.

Ideas like the Mixed Species Forest Plantation  may be explored as per the advice of the experts.

The planting may be done as per the advice of the experts keeping the mixed tree species planting concept. This will increase the structural complexity of the plantation thereby enhancing the biodiversity and the ecosystem functioning of the area.

As you are very well aware of, sufficient expertise in  restoration ecology , afforestation practices  etc., are available in Kerala, such as, Kerala Agricultural University(College of Forestry) ,  etc.,

This available pool of expertise   must be utilized and the participation of local NGOS  and the general population in the surrounding areas may be obtained and utilized so that the replanting drive is  a long term ecological success story.

We once again appreciate and reaffirm  our solidarity with the decision to plant trees in HMT Campus Kalamassery.

Sincerely Yours,        


Cochin Natural History Society
Reg.No.: ER 18/10 of 2010  
Regd. Office:
(Klathil) Revathi Bhavan, Edathala P O, ALUVA-683561. 
Telephone No.: 9446437410

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