US President Obama plants a Bo-tree in India
US President Barack Obama planted a Ficus tree at the Samadhi (Mausoleum) of Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi on Sunday, 25 January 2015. The tradition of asking visiting dignitaries to plant a tree is evidence of the importance of trees in Indian culture.
Tree planting is also globally associated with friendship-a growing tree symbolizes a strong bond of friendship. The US First Lady Michelle Obama earlier this year planted a cherry tree as part of this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival, which marked the 100th anniversary of Tokyo’s gift of cherry trees to Washington.
Planting trees in the memory of deceased leaders, famous personalities, relatives and family members directly supports environment. But the emotional support provided by trees planted in the memory of loved ones is a less talked about social benefit of promoting trees outside forests.
India has already taken lead in agroforestry (promoting trees outside forest) through formulation and implementation of a National Agroforestry Policy, and by establishing a national research institute of agroforestry.
Requesting the President of the United States of America to plant a tree is an indication of the importance which India and Indian people attach to trees.
-Story by Dr Javed Rizvi, Regional Director, ICRAF- South Asia Program
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