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India’s first seed bank of native trees species for Thar desert to be set up in Jodhpur

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India’s first seed bank of native tree species for Thar desert is going to be set up in the Jodhpur city of Rajasthan under project Maruvan (dessert forest). 

Gaurav Gurjar who is working as tree expert with the renowned organization Afforest, which creates mini urban forests, is handling the project. 

The project will first focus on Marwar belt including Jodhpur, Bikaner, Barmer etc and then include pockets of semi-arid region of Punjab like Bathinda as well.

Gurjar told TOI, “These native tree species will play a crucial role as front frontier in containing further expansion of desertification and the related damaging impact of climate impact in the Thar desert. We are starting the project with Jodhpur which is gateway to Thar desert in Rajasthan.”

He said that he and his team would study the ancient literature and miniature paintings and artwork in the Rajasthan forts which provide detail information about the existence of old native tree species in the region. Alongside they would try to trace out these species in old temples, sacred groves and intact forest areas.

“We will create seed bank of all these native trees species which are fast vanishing to preserve them for future. This will be done by procuring seeds with the help of tribal communities and villagers who have been protecting sacred grooves or mini forests where the last remnants of these tree species are still intact. 

The quality of the trees growing in these protected zones are genetically much better than the ones which grow on roadside or anywhere else,” he said adding that he would also revive the traditional method of storing these seeds with certain herbs and wooden ash and put them in pots made up of mixture of clay, muds, selected herbs etc which acted as anti-bacterial and antifungal to stop the degeneration of seeds.”

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