INDIAN LAUREL TREE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     5th April 2024        
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Context: Forest department authorities in Andhra Pradesh's Alluri Sitharama Raju district cut the bark of an Indian laurel tree, with water gushing out.

Indian Laurel Tree

  • About: It is a tropical or subtropical tree primarily found across Asia, Western Pacific Islands, and Australia.
  • Scientific name: Terminalia elliptica (syn. T. tomentosa), also known as Chinese banyan, Malayan banyan.
  • Habitat: It provides a dense canopy, smooth light-gray bark, and shiny green lanceolate leaves, making it an ornamental tree.
  • Distribution: Southern and Southeast Asia, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
  • Features: The thick foliage of the Indian Laurel tree creates an excellent habitat for various bird species.

oThe small round figs produced by the tree serve as food for birds.

  • Water Scarcity and Indian Laurel Trees: Water gushing out from the Indian laurel tree's bark coincides with water scarcity in parts of India, including Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

oBengaluru is facing a severe water crisis.

oReservoirs in Andhra Pradesh have a water storage of 22 per cent, significantly lower than last year's 66 per cent.

Reservoir Levels Across India

  • Among the 21 major states with tracked reservoir status, 15 have levels below the decade-average.
  • In Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, reservoir levels are over 20 per cent below the decade-average.
  • Andhra Pradesh experiences the highest departure from the ten-year average at 49 per cent.