Over 150,000 trees have already been planted, setting a new record
Leh, May 07:
One lakh saplings, 90% of which are willow and poplar species, will be planted in the arid Ladakh region on May 17 with the goal of achieving an 85-90 percent survival rate, plantation drive volunteers said on Sunday.
A record-breaking 150,000 trees have already been planted in the Ladakh region, and they are flourishing under the care of the Kung Fu nuns, led by Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the Himalayan-based Drukpa Order.
In 2012, Live to Love, founded by Gyalwang Drukpa, a recipient of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Award for his humanitarian and environmental work, made Guinness World Records history by breaking the Philippines' record for “Most Trees Planted Simultaneously” by planting 99,103 Ladakhi willow saplings in less than an hour with the help of 9,814 volunteers near the world-famous Hemis monastery.
Previously, in October 2010, 9,033 Live to Love volunteers planted 50,033 saplings. In January 2011, the Philippines planted 66,000 saplings in an hour.
According to a spokesperson for Live to Love, the plantation drive will take place over an area of 60 acres in Liktsey, a small hamlet with about 30 mud-brick houses where villagers primarily grow barley and apricots, with the help of 5,000 volunteers, including government officials, faith leaders, locals, Kung Fu nuns, and international volunteers.
In specially dug pits, they will plant saplings. The saplings are mostly Ladakhi willows and poplars.
“We are also planting fruit saplings, primarily apricot, apple, plum, walnut, and pears.” The local administration has put in place a high-efficiency irrigation system to reduce the vulnerability of saplings to drought-like situations and increase their survival rate. Water will be lifted from the nearby Indus River for this purpose,” he added.
Ladakh is a cold, arid desert at high altitudes with annual precipitation ranging between 100 and 150 mm, insufficient to meet the plants' average moisture requirements.
The campaign, according to Live to Love, will green Ladakh's barren lands, create natural watersheds, reduce soil erosion, and mitigate devastating flash floods and landslides. Animals will have homes, and Ladakhi communities will have access to lush forests.
Volunteers from Nepal and Bhutan will take part in the initiative on May 17.
Previously, two mass plantation drives were conducted in Changa village, nearly 40 kilometres from Leh town, where there is now a dense forest cover.
In order to encourage participants, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa personally joined the record-breaking attempt in 2012.
“It is a completely non-religious initiative that will be carried out under the guidance of Gyalwa Dokhampa, who is visiting from Bhutan,” the spokesperson said.
Gyalwa Dokhampa, a young spiritual leader, believes Buddhism is not a religion but rather a path to happiness. Based in Bhutan and Nepal, he teaches all over the world, bringing a fresh perspective to traditional teachings.
As a spiritual teacher, he enjoys interacting with young people about environmental preservation.
“We saw how much trash trekkers left behind in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, which ended up in the water streams.” These waterways provide drinking water for 30-40% of the world's population. “Our goal was to collect all of the non-biodegradable garbage,” Gyalwa Dokhampa explained in a recent interview.
Gyalwa Dokhampa, a spiritual leader with a strong commitment to action, spent his early years in Darjeeling and has since shared his knowledge with students in the United States, Europe, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.