Social forestry

Free tree

Social Forestry Day is good time to reflect on the health of our forests, and to help nurture them by planting trees around our homes, schools, villages, towns, and in barren hillsides.

So we – my family, that is – were happy that we had the opportunity to do something different yesterday: we saved a few trees!

Yes, I’m being dramatic, I know. What we did do was uproot a few of the smaller trees (small plants actually, especially rhododendron) along the Taba – Langjophakha road and transplant them in front of our house.  The trees were destined to be destroyed, as they were in the path of the road-widening project that is currently going on along the road to Taba.

If they survive, we would have, in a way, saved them!

Flowering forests

Rhododendron

Almost everyone answered “Big picture – 8” correctly. Yes, the picture was part of an emerging rhododendron flower. And as Linda Wangmo suggested, I took the picture on my recent visit to Sombaykha Dungkhag in Haa.

But Jigme Tshewang answered first. So Jigme wins the prize. Please contact me to claim the 2008 golden coronation badge.

The area between Tergo-la (at about 3,800 m) and Taashi Thang (at about 1,800 m) is almost one continuous rhododendron forest. The forest is old. And it is pristine. Aum Rebecca Pradhan, a leading naturalist, estimates the forest to have about 35 species of rhododendron.

Rhododendron trees mostly bloom towards the end of March through early May. So, when I walked through the forest, in February, only those trees at the lower altitudes were flowering. And most of them were the gigantic Rhododendron Grande. But a few others, like Rhododenron falconeri, Rhododendron barbatum and Rhododendron Arboreum were also flowering.

I took a few pictures – of rhododendron buds, flowers, trees and forests – during my last trip. And, for those of you interested in rhododendron, I’ve posted them in the Gallery. The photo in the “Big picture” featured a Rhododendron Arboreum, known nationally as the Etho Meto.

I plan to go back, during a weekend, when most of the rhododendron forest is in bloom. Would the upcoming field visit interest any of you? In lieu of an invitation, I’m featuring the rhododendron in our banner.