Park Area : 350 acres
Location: Entrance on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, near the Guru Dronacharya Metro station in Gurgaon
- The Park will have bio-preserves, Wetlands, Ponds,walking and cycling tracks,an Interpretation Centre and much more.
- Planned recreational facilities including a cycle stand, and an amphitheatre(located along its more urban edge adjoining phase 3)
- The park will also have wetlands and ponds which will attract migratory birds.
Aravali Biodiversity Park, as its name suggests is an endeavour to create a forest garden that celebrates forest flora native to the Aravali range. We have lost a large part of Aravali range, its flora and fauna to rampant development and urbanization. The Aravali Biodiversity Park was once a mining site. The land still has fresh scars of the mining era. ‘iamgurgaon’ intends to restore this scarred land into a biodiversity reserve and celebrate the rich flora of the Aravali Range
The Aravali Biodiversity Park was declared open by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on June 5th 2010, on World Environment Day. Once developed, the Aravali Biodiversity Park would give the citizens of Gurgaon access to 600 acres of pristine space and connect them to nature. It will be a place for leisure walks, jogging, trekking, bird watching, gardening, contemplation and cultural expression. A pristine natural space where nature and people merge into a beautiful natural landscape…
How do you create a good Aravali forest park? A very big question for us. Where to start looking for? We have lost most of the original Aravali forests in this part of Aravali (Delhi and Haryana) to mining, grazing, encroachment and development. A few forests left are in a very degraded state and manily colonied by Vilayati Keekar (Prosopis juliflora).
Our hope was in some flora pockets in these degraded forests such as Mangarbani, a sacred grove in Gurgaon-Faridabad road and some remanent pockets of plants in the central and northern ridge in Delhi. However, we can only say that they represent only a small possiblity in Aravali. We found thick Anogeissus pendula (dhau) forest with last of Boswellia serrata (Salai) and Albizia odorotissima (kala basa) in this region. We did an extensive document research on flora records of 19th and 20th century by John Forbes Royle, J.F. Duthie, R. N. Parker and J.K. Maheshwari. We also travelled extensively to the Aravali forests for different plant associations.
This led us to a good list of about 200 species of trees, shrubs, climbers, herbs and grasses. With list in our hand, we started out looking for plants in forest and commercial nurseries of northern and western India, in our search of about 3 years, we went as far as Pune to look for plants. Unfortunately, this search did not yield more than 30 species
Therefore, it became inevitable to start an ambitious project to grow these plants on our own. Let me tell you, its not easy. You have to start from collecting seeds, for which you have to extensively travel in the aravali forests, know healthy specimen and identify locals who can collect seeds for you during the season, train on seed selection, labeling and packing them so that they are transported in good condition and remain viable till they are sown.
Our effort yielded some 100 species collected this season and while we read this article seed collection is going on. While it was an achievement, we met another roadblock in terms of documentation on propagation methods of native plant species not significant for silviculture practices. We did our trail and error and have been successful in germinating 30 species in 2012. Some of the species growing in our nursery are, Albizia odorotissima (kala basa), Boswellia serrata (salai), Anogeissus pendula (dhau), Dyspyros cordifolia (bistendu), Grewia tenax (gangeti), Mallotus phillipensis (sinduri), Mitragyna parviflora (Kaim), Mimosa hamata, Wrightia tinctoria, Wrightia arborea (dudhi) etc.
Our target for the first year is was get some 30000 saplings and 80 species by end of July 2012, of which about 8000 were planted in the Aug-Oct 2012 planting season. Our targets for 2013 and 2014 are 50,000 each. You can help by adopting a tree here.
We are very thankful to Coca Cola and KPMG, who understood the importance of creating a nursery and came forward to support us financially in our endeavour.