Old Growth Trees – are mammoth trees with towering height, impressive trunk & massive branches. They can date back to even 500 – 1000 years. Their size & spread make us feel tiny. Imagine limitless services offered by these giants during their lifetime! They support diversity of species from its roots to the leaves. Every canopy layer is special with different micro-climate & function. Mosses, mushrooms, orchids, parasites, climbers, sometimes even a small tree find home here, giving food & shelter to innumerable animal diversity from ants, insects, honey bees, birds, snakes, & mammals.
Every species has carved a niche for itself making it a very functional small ecosystem. The ground level buttress roots and lower branches support insect diversity like ants and termites. Middle level braches carry ‘epiphytes’ like orchids or parasites attracting many birds like the leafbirds or flowerpeckers. Upper level braches support beehives. Holes in the old boles are used by nocturnal animals like civets and birds like qwls. Top canopy serves as roosting sites for several kinds of birds. Leaves are eaten by caterpillars which eventually emerge as beautiful moths or butterflies, which visit nectar-filled flowers along with bees. Fruits offer a treat to bats and birds. And so it goes...
Apart from all this, with emergence of their first leaves, the trees have been absorbing CO2 & giving us our life – The Oxygen. Important services offered by these spirits are immeasurable & we humans owe them much more respect & care !
But I also love the fact that trees act as purifiers in our urban landscape. They give much-wanted shade. To every member of the BBMP who says that they are going to cut down large trees to widen the roads, and replace them by planting saplings elsewhere, I say that saplings cannot, right now, take the place of full-grown trees in the benefits they confer. And I want every official to try walking and cycling first through one of the treeless, wide roads, and then through a leafy, tree-filled avenue, and see the difference for themselves. On long journeys, even car rides are different when they are through tree-lined old roads, and when they are through the new sun-baked stretches of new highways.
The trees at Valley School are mostly young trees. Another problem is that a photo of a majestic old tree never seems to convey the awe-inspiring size of it in the image. So...here is the sun setting through some of the younger trees in one of my favourite spots...
I also refer everyone to
well, they don't list the non-flowering but shade- and oxygen-giving trees....