Blue Dart Express Ltd, one of India’s leading express logistics service providers and part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL), has announced that it will plant 111,000 trees on the Kanha-Pench Corridor in CY 2020. This will be done in collaboration with Grow-Trees.

The 111,000 trees are expected to offset 2,222,000 kg of carbon per year on maturity (maturity of trees varies from species to species; usually for forestry species it is 7–8 years and depends on various factors like soil condition, climatic variations, etc.). The tress being planted include indigenous species like tamarind, shisham (North Indian rosewood), siras (frywood), teak wood, karanj (Indian beech), custard apple, ber (Indian plum), kateswari (red silk cotton), kashid (yellow cassia), wood apple,  and amla (Indian gooseberry). 

Preserving the ecosystem around the corridor, rebuilding wildlife habitats and supporting tribal communities along with aiding in increasing the forest reserve in the country are some of the objectives of the programme. 

Blue Dart had earlier planted 222,000 trees in the Kanha-Pench Corridor. The company claims that this has helped revive the biodiversity of the region as well as reduced man–animal conflict while providing direct employment to over 70 families every year, creating around 5,600 workdays during pit digging and planting activities alone.

Commenting on the initiative, Balfour Manuel, MD, Blue Dart Express Ltd, says, ‘Our Group-wide environmental protection program GoGreen’s main objective is to reduce and/or avoid emissions of greenhouse gases and to protect and preserve our environment. Planting these 111,000 trees is another step in this direction and is our effort to make the logistics sector greener and more sustainable. We will continue to find ways to eradicate waste and retain more value in our products in 2020.’

Bikrant Tiwary, CEO, Grow-Trees.com, is confident that ‘the trees planted in the region will provide the resources required to sustain the tiger population in the forests, while also benefitting the rural communities.’ He draws attention to how deforestation has led the wildlife in Pench Tiger Reserve to enter villages, often leading to injuries in both animals and villagers as well as disruption in agricultural activities.

The region marked as the Pench Tiger Reserve is home to a significant population of India’s tigers and ranked among the world’s most important tiger habitats. The purpose of choosing the wildlife corridor between Pench and Kanha National Park for this year’s drive was to allow the tiger population residing in the region more mobility, which in turn improves their chances of survival and growth. The trees planted on the periphery of the Pench Tiger Reserve, in and around the Karwahi village, will secure the habitat of the tiger as well as provide ample forest-based resources to tribal groups living in these areas and dependent on trees for food, fuel and livelihood.  

Responding to CauseBecause’s query on the strategy for ensuring survivability of the saplings, the spokesperson informs that apart from planting saplings of indigenous (local) species, guidance is also sought from experts who are familiar with the bio-climatic conditions of the area. Also, planting is done only in monsoon for greater survivability. Saplings are at least six months old at the time of planting.

‘The whole idea behind the project is to let the saplings grow naturally,’ the spokesperson says. The site supervisor along with villagers monitor the saplings for about a year, until the company conducts an external audit. After the audit, the dead saplings are replanted one time and the project is handed over to the gram panchayat for further monitoring. Additionally, in areas of adverse survival conditions, the strategy adopted is of 1+3 planting, wherein one main sapling is planted along with 3 seeds of the local species which have been successful in surviving the given ecological conditions.

As per the audit report (dated 13 September 2019), the survival rate is 98% for the 111,000 trees planted in 2017–18 monsoon. For the saplings planted in the 2019 monsoon, an audit was scheduled this year but has been delayed due to the pandemic.