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As the Western Ghats are known for being a biodiversity hotspot, preserving the catchments has become a national priority that Tata Power has extended its wholehearted support to.
Over the past 40 years, Tata Power has planted saplings of fast growing tree species, native to the Western Ghats on hill slopes of the lake catchments. The afforestation programme was intensified in 1991 and continues till date. During the last 10 years, the focus has been on growing indigenous local tree species found in the Western Ghats. These plants are nurtured at the nurseries of Tata Power in Lonavala. This process is necessary to support the biological diversity in the eco-forest system and in turn restore the habitat for selected fauna.
The success of this initiative has therefore become imperative to the ecological improvement of the lakes and for the conservation of the flora, fauna and aquatic diversity therein. Tata Power plants around 9 to 10 lakh saplings annually at all its hydro catchment areas. The species selected for plantation are mostly indigenous forest species grown in the region, and are also slowly decreasing in numbers and need to be planted on a large scale to ensure conservation.
Due to Tata Power's diligent efforts over 100 lakh saplings have been planted across different locations in the hydro catchments in Maval and Mulshi areas. Through this effort Tata Power aims to make the area green and picturesque, with the hope that this will attract several species of animals, birds and butterflies, thus ensuring that the Western Ghats continue to be known as a biodiversity hotspot across the globe.
As part of its efforts on afforestation, Tata Power has initiated development of nurseries for indigenous and endemic forest species, medicinal plants and giant creepers, gifting grafted mango plants to villagers, plantation in continuous trenches for conservation of water and reducing siltation. It has also taken up awareness drives about prevention of forest fires, teacher's training workshops in environment education environment education in schools, and organising environment fairs.