City anchor: 32 lakh trees in city, Aundh tops green chart

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration has finally completed the tree census, registering over 32 lakh trees in the civic jurisdiction, civic body officials said adding this includes some 150 trees of some species on the verge of extinction.

The tree count exercise that had weathered several storms and was completed in five years does not include trees on land under the forest department.

"The tree census started in 2008 has been completed. The final count is 32,07,721 but the actual number would be close to 39 lakh as trees on land owned by the forest department have not been included so far," said Ashok Ghorpade, Garden Superintendent of the PMC.

Trees in forest areas of Katraj, Warje, Hadapsar and Kondhwa, where around six lakh trees are expected, are yet be counted, he said adding the defence area in front of the Aga Khan Palace has been excluded owing to security reasons. There are likely to be around one lakh trees there, he said.

Ghorpade said the tree census in 1996-97 had shown 32.88 lakh trees including those in forest areas. The area under the civic jurisdiction then was, however, smaller as it was before the merger of 23 villages with the PMC.

The tree census reveals that the Aundh ward office area with over six lakh trees leads the green chart, while the area under Vishrambaug wada ward office in the heart of the city has the lowest count of 17,278.

"Around 150 trees of species facing extinction have been discovered in the city," he added.

The entire exercise cost the PMC around Rs 2 crore, with the agency given the task charging Rs 6.15 per tree. Ghorpade said the PMC will start a fresh census next year which would incorporate the latest technology.

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