Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Endangered species esp. plants and animals (ii) impact of overuse of chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, & pest controls on our lives (iii) wild-life of Pakistan and (iv) other interesting notes about the environmental issues again relevant to Pakistan.

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KBW
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Re: Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Post by KBW » November 3rd, 2013, 5:44 pm

Farhan Ahmed wrote:Alstonia Scholaris is an endemic Tree.
Alstonia scholaris does not grow naturally in any part of Pakistan as per my knowledge. If any one has ever seen an alstonia tree growing anywhere in Pakistani wilderness naturally than please indicate.


It is endemic to Southern and South Eastern India which has a topical / semi tropical climate. In terms of distance, that place is far off from mainland Pakistan and in terms of weather / climate also that place is far different. In Southern India, it rains a lot and there are huge tropical / semi tropical forests. These forests receive huge amount of rainfalls and do not suffer extreme fluctuations in temperatures as we do. Therefore, plants in those areas have a different nature which is not similar to our native plants. That is an entirely different ecosystem.

When we plant a tree like Alstonia in Lahore or Islamabad or Okara or even Karachi, the rains are not that frequent and bulk of them come during two months only. Karachi doesn't get monsoon normally but has less temperature fluctuations as compared to rest of the country. As per its nature, the Alstonia plant wants more water and nutrients so that it can grow a large numbers of soft tissued broad leaves and grow fast. It doesn't get that much of water naturally so it grows long routes to look for more water and nutrients. In the process, it sucks all the nutrients from the soil at that particular spot and other plants find it hard to compete with the giant, ie, Alstonia. The mealy bugs, as pointed out by Khurram sahib, is another menace that come with the Alstonia tree. And when there are hundreds of those trees in an areas, the encourage millions of mealy bugs. And of course those mealy bugs do not stay restricted to Alstonia alone, they go everywhere.

In rainforests, there are animals / birds who prey on mealy bugs and other such insects. We have to understand that there is a complete cycle of interdependent plants, animals, insects, birds, bacteria etc which live in a symbiotic relationship. When you takeout something or introduce something new, it has its consequences which are slow, not easily visible initially but very serious at the later stage.

Farooq sahib has asked that what developed countries are doing with regard to forestation in their countries. Well, forestation in most of the developed countries NOW is strictly native trees. It's a crime to plant foreign species in the wild / outside controlled environment. There are very complicated, long and laborious processes to get the permission for planting foreign tree (of whatever type). It's beyond a normal man's reach to do all that paperwork and go through all those detailed investigations required to induct a foreign plant or animal or bird in native habitat. And if anyone plants at his own than at many places, there are heavy fines and even imprisonment for doing so. The basic logic is that an individual has no right to play with the environmental future of other fellow citizens just because he happens to like a particular tree or animal or bird too much. Plantation outside the controlled environment effect everyone and therefore, strictly not allowed.

As for plantation of Neem Tree in Saudi Arabia, as per my information it was done after due research by the Saudis. They had hired scientists who did the research and recommended this tree. I am not sure if it has any adverse environmental effects so far but none have come to surface yet and neem tree is doing well in Saudi Arabia. In fact, it might be of interest to you that its hard to find neem trees in Pakistani nurseries now. Last year I was looking for around 500 neem trees for plantation at a certain place in Okara. I could not find 500 trees and the reason was that most of the neem plants are exported to Middle East. Of course the guy sitting in middle east was paying many times more than what I could have done. It will be interesting to digout but I think neem trees are being introduced in Middle East after research. And mind you, all of them are being grown in semi-controlled environment. ie, every individual tree has it own water sprinkler so it gets the water that it needs. Important point to note here is that it is being done by Governments after due research and not by individuals. Yet, it is too early to say what impact it will have on their respective environments.

regards

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Re: Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Post by Farhan Ahmed » November 3rd, 2013, 5:48 pm

Endemic issue later first a question
Will a tree endemic to tropical and abundant availability to water grow longer roots or a drought area Tree?
Where does Eucalyptus Come from?

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Re: Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Post by mikhurram » November 3rd, 2013, 6:36 pm

Just wanted to clarify that Neem tree is a very beneficial evergreen tree indigenous to India/Pakistan and it wasn't mentioned as a hazardous tree and it's name popped up in the discussion query raised by Farooq Sahib regarding it's usage in Saudi Arabia. Till date the cultivation of Neem tree which started in early 80's has proven to be very successful in Arafat Plains. The Saudi's prior to planting it in Arafat had planted some Neem Trees in the late 60's or early 70's in another area and selected Neem based on those successful trials. Neem is extremely useful for the environment and the government should consider planting them in green belts around roads rather than preferring date trees.

Eucalyptus tree was imported from Australia in the early 1960's during the Ayub Khan era based on the reasoning that they grew quickly and no study was done.

Japanese Lonicera / honeysuckle is another invasive vine commonly available in our nurseries. This vine has few natural enemies and can kill shrubs and small trees by winding around their stems and trunks, cutting off the flow of water. The dense growth also destroys other vegetation by blocking sunlight.

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Re: Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Post by Farhan Ahmed » November 3rd, 2013, 6:43 pm

mikhurram wrote: Eucalyptus tree was imported from Australia
what about Australian climate/soil conditions?

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Re: Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Post by Munir » November 3rd, 2013, 7:10 pm

Very informative discussion.
Mikhurram, please come again on Honey Suckle; in an earlier discussion,this was graded very high as a fragrant plant & recommended for a home garden. What do you say on it?

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Re: Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Post by Farhan Ahmed » November 3rd, 2013, 7:13 pm

KBW wrote: It is endemic to Southern and South Eastern India which has a topical / semi tropical climate. These forests receive huge amount of rainfalls

As per its nature, the Alstonia plant wants more water and nutrients so that it can grow a large numbers of soft tissues broad leaves and grow fast. It doesn't get that much of water naturally so it grows long routes to look for more water and nutrients.

regards
Water granted. Nutrients? In Rain forest? Soil conditions of a heavy rainfall area?

Broad Leaves...transpiration? Some points to ponder

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Re: Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Post by mikhurram » November 3rd, 2013, 8:15 pm

by Munir » November 3rd, 2013, 7:10 pm

Very informative discussion.
Mikhurram, please come again on Honey Suckle; in an earlier discussion,this was graded very high as a fragrant plant & recommended for a home garden. What do you say on it?
Sir the honey suckle commonly available in our nurseries is the variety known as Japanese Honeysuckle or Lonicera Japonica. So much so that this particular variety has even been recommended by the eminent gardening expert Zahrah Nasir for its fragrance but there's no doubt that Japanese Lonicera despite being fragrant is extremely invasive and poses a threat to the existence of our native flora. In U.S.A. Japanese Honeysuckle has already been banned.

I would suggest that members prior to purchasing a particular plant or a seed can check if it's not invasive by checking the review of that plant in website like Davesgarden.

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Re: Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Post by M Farooq » November 4th, 2013, 12:58 am

KBW wrote:
Farhan Ahmed wrote:Alstonia Scholaris is an endemic Tree.
Alstonia scholaris does not grow naturally in any part of Pakistan as per my knowledge. If any one has ever seen an alstonia tree growing anywhere in Pakistani wilderness naturally than please indicate.
I am confused as two authoritative sources have different information. The Flora of Pakistan (the largest of its kind, Missouri Botanical Gardens) says that the genus Alstonia has 30 species and it is represented by two cultivated species in Pakistan 1. Alstonia macrophylla and 2. Alstonia scholaris.

The US Dept of Agriculture calls Alstonia scholaris as a native tree of Pakistan. So when a does a cultivated tree become a native tree?

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Re: Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Post by khabbab » November 4th, 2013, 2:15 pm

A very important discussion indeed.

Alstonia scholaris is a common sight in lahore. I do not think it was native to pakistan however it is naturalized here. A cultivated plant, if successfully grown for many years in an area is considered to be native although that should be called naturalized. Naturalized for too old will be considered native imo.

Famous Pakistani traveler Salman Rashid mentioned in one of his articles that alstonia was an alien to pakistan gardens and now it is naturalized.
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Re: Environmentally Unfriendly Trees of Pakistan

Post by Syed Adnan » November 4th, 2013, 2:35 pm

In Lahore we have Large Alstonias in front of our House, they bloom annually with a strong fragrance like (RAAT KI RANI).

From the childhood i know this tree but now came to know the true name :) , thanks to Gardening Pakistan.

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