Riverside Plantations Icon

January 31, 2022

Riverside plantations are important for:

  • preventing floods
  • conserving water
  • regulating the flow of water in rivers
  • keeping soil moist and fertile.

Some examples of plants which are useful riverside trees include banyan, date palm, neem or margosa, tamarind, simul, imli and fruit trees. If horticulture is developed along the banks of rivers, the rivers will never dry up.

Most trees with tap root systems do not alleviate riverside erosion, but eucalyptus is an exception. Trees with tap roots draw water from deep under the ground. Many tap root trees growing in an area can lower the water table and deprive other plants of water, and this can be an additional factor in the creation of desert conditions.

For example, eucalyptus trees have contributed to the sparse, arid conditions in Australia.

Eucalyptus trees are suitable for planting in marshy areas to help dry them out and are useful for preventing grass fires, but they are not recommended as part of a reforestation programme. As eucalyptus helps check riverside erosion, it can also be a useful riverside tree, but it should always be planted in association with other trees.

An example of a riverside plantation is neem, tamarind, simul and eucalyptus. Between each of these trees, palmyra and date palm should be planted alternately. A second example is imli, neem and simul in either of two configurations – imli, neem, imli, etc. or imli, simul, imli, etc. Imli is a good riverside plant because it retains water and checks soil erosion. It has an extremely fibrous root system.

Fibrous roots gather water near the surface and benefit neighbouring plants and trees. Many banyan trees have been planted along the seven rivers in Ánanda Nagar for this reason. Previously, only one river ran throughout the year at Ánanda Nagar, but now all seven rivers flow almost all year round, right up to mid-March. The dry season starts in October and extends to June. Riverside plantations have shown tremendous positive effects within only one year at Ánanda Nagar.

The rivers in Ánanda Nagar are:

  1. Dakśińa (southern)
  2. Uttara (northern)
  3. Kunti (mother of the Pandava brothers), previously called Kopia, meaning angry, because of flash floods
  4. Alkánanda, meaning the river coming from heaven, and previously called Alkusi (which often gave lots of trouble due to flash floods and the subsequent damage this caused)
  5. Guaki, which is loop-shaped, and is actually the confluence of the Dakśińa and Uttara
  6. Parágati
  7. Mandákinii.

India used to be called the land of the 7 rivers. Now, Ánanda Nagar is the land of the seven rivers.

Trees which should be planted along the rivers at Ánanda Nagar are the indigenous neem, bakayan neem or gudra neem, eucalyptus, tamarind and simul.

Tea gardens can also be planted along the river banks. Patal may be grown on the banks of the streams in Purulia district.

Land and water hyacinths originated in Brazil.

Mr. Lee, the Divisional Commissioner of Dhaka, and his wife visited Brazil. Mrs. Lee liked the water hyacinths and brought them to the Divisional Commissioners house in Dhaka. From there they spread into the Durhi Ganga.

Within 10 years they spread to Bengal, and within 50 years to Uttar Pradesh.

Now they have spread throughout the whole of India.

In Bengali they are called “kachuri patra” and in Hindi “jalakumbhi”. Water hyacinths are good for producing bio-gas.

Lily ponds should be located far from rivers.

So, lakeside and riverside plantations stop soil erosion, nourish the top soil and assist in providing a steady supply of water throughout the year. This method of plantation should be adopted everywhere.

16 March 1988, Calcutta

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