Green Infrastructure of Trees – Forest’s Symbolic Socialization

Gautam Kumar Das

Green infrastructure is a natural framework in horizontal, vertical, crisscross, zigzag, or convoluted pattern by the tree lines, creepers, and bushes of herb and shrubs of the forests. Influence and impact of that green infrastructure by the trees, not only to the wildlife, but on the forest vegetation, reveals the symbolic socialization of the tree community. Forest green serves as an infrastructure to the occurrence of forest vegetation as a whole and to the wildlife for their quiet living in the jungle atmosphere. Such green infrastructure is evidenced far and wide in the Jungle Mahal in the south-west part of West Bengal. Here Sal trees (Shorea robusta) under the category of Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest types stand in a regular interval, but their canopy on the top overlapped each other, not even maintaining social distancing or crown shyness. This huge canopy without any gap all along the forest patches helps moving of the arboreal animals on the top and prevent predators of the wildlife dwelling in the forest floors. This type of forest looks like a huge structure made for a social carnival where timber of Sal trees is assumed to be as poles and green canopy of foliage as tarpaulin covered on the top. In forest stands, creepers are numerous in number, grown up with huge length and diameter, sometimes as good as equal to the stems of the timber trees, undulating and strong that helps forest living animals to cross over from one tree to another and monkeys are seen swinging from these creepers as these creepers are interconnected with the two or more trees. Sometimes these creepers act as barriers where swift moving herbivores like deer are trapped and their predators easily make them a prey. Such green infrastructure framed by the convoluted awesome creepers in a dense jungle, prevent the hunters to take advantage of hunting wildlife with their arrow, spear or shot guns. Herbs and shrubs, low and bushy, not only cover the forest floors or supplying fodder to the herbivores, but trap the litterfall from the timber trees enhancing more nutrient supply contributing to the forest soils through microbial biomass decomposition and increases infiltration rate through precipitation from rainfall. Thus, herbs and shrubs looking like a green mosaic to the forest floor stop withering away of the dry leaves, barks, flowers, fruits and particularly seeds that promote regeneration of saplings and thus, helps in propagation of timber trees inside the forest stands.

Forests in the high latitude, particularly in Dooars of West Bengal, vegetation of soft stem like banana grows on the gentle slope of the elevated areas with a two-tier green infrastructure. This wild banana groves are surrounded by wild ginger, cardamom, chili and orange plants, the smell of which are disliked by elephant herds as their characteristic instinct. As a result of that green infrastructure, elephant herd halt abruptly towards banana groves and monkeys enjoy all ripe bananas of the banana groves. Gathering such experience, forest department at present, starts plantations of chili, ginger or plants bearing citrous fruits like orange along the borderline areas between the village and the forest patches to combat human-elephant conflict.

Green infrastructure of the dense mangrove forests of the Sunderbans occurred in the Hooghly-Matla estuarine environment in the confluence of the Bay of Bengal is quite different from that of the terrestrial forests. Penetrating such highly dense Sunderbans jungle covered with mangroves and its associated species is a most arduous undertaking task. The trees are intertwined supported and upheld with each other forming a complex green infrastructure. Immense sized trees particularly Garjan (Rhizophora sp.) overwhelms the visitors with their spreading stems and stilt roots covering sometimes an acre area. This complex green infrastructure made up of stems and stilt roots of the Garjan trees are looking like a framework made outside of a built-up building under construction for shattering purposes. Further, abundantly occurred brushwood covering all over the forest areas with low height, bushy and interlocked with each other lead to almost impenetrable into the forest and thus they save mangroves through natural barrier. In such a green infrastructure, wood cutters and honey collectors are to be hacked away bit by bit in their attempts of penetration inside the mangrove forests of the Sunderbans. In this favourable situation the Royal Bengal Tiger hide themselves in the bushes of Hental (Phoenix paludosa) for a prey of deer, monkey, or a wild boar.

Trees of the forests which cannot even move, in this way, grow up a symbolic social structure in the natural environment by means of green infrastructure. Trees cannot betray to anybody else like books, though even some books sometimes deceive with their cover, whereas some books surprise with their content. Contrastingly, trees grown up in the forest stands with the green infrastructure never deceive, but provide benefits to all including its vegetation, wildlife and human beings.

Oct 10, 2020

 Gautam Kumar Das

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