Design and Development of Urban Forestry Models to Combat Environmental Pollution in Tamil Nadu

NADP Projects Implemented by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University

Year 2012-13

Design and Development of Urban Forestry Models to Combat Environmental Pollution in Tamil Nadu

Background of the Study

Any country should have one third of its Geographical area with forests for enriching its natural resources of that country. India to be specific is far below the requirement and hails only at the level of 22 per cent of Forest and tree cover. Population density in India has increased from 267 persons per square kilometer to 325 persons per square kilometer during the past decade. Absence of requisite tree cover and increase in the population density reduced the quality of natural resources which in turn affect the quality of lives of human and animals.  To be specific, CO2 emission in India has increased from 597 million ton to 1149 million ton between 1990 and 2005 registering a cent per cent increase over the base year warranted the need of increasing the tree cover in all spaces particularly the neglect areas like metro, urban and semi urban environs. Similarly, because of increasing vehicles and automobiles, the noise pollution in Chennai city also rose from the allowable limit of 55 decibels to 129 decibels which is arrived at 134.5 percent increase over the allowable limit
(Table 1). Population density in Tamil Nadu has increased from 429 to 480 for the last decade. The number of factories has also increased from 15,000 to 21,000 during the last decade. This state has less than 17% area under forest cover. The Government of Tamil Nadu has plans and schemes to increase forest area in private lands mainly concentrated in rural areas. So urban greening is the only way for improving quality of life thereby reducing water and air pollution in urban areas.

Table 1. Noise Pollution in Chennai City

S. No


Noise Standards (Allowable in Decibels)

Present Level of Noise in Chennai City (in Decibels)


Residential Zone




Commercial Zone




Industrial Zone



(Source: CPCB, 2011)
Urban Greening restores the patch work of natural resources in and around communities. It includes urban forest, parks, community gardens, river parkways, green belts, bicycle and pedestrian trials, green roofs and open space.
Studies showed that urban greening is integral to the ecological, economic and societal well beings of our communities. The green and open spaces provide a number of valuable services to the environment including cleaning our air and water, providing homes and food for wild life and saving energy through shade. They also offer economic and social benefits such as raising property values, rekindling neighborhood pride, improving health and well being, and providing spaces for children to play. When planned, implemented and managed properly, urban greening can significantly improve the quality of human life for decades to come.

Project Rationale

  • The Air, The Water, The Soil were polluted heavily due to mismanagement of natural resources,
  • Increased human Population and its pressure on the natural resources forced the agriculture to take a back seat
  • Industrial and service sector growth is increasing and its contribution towards environment is worsening
  • Absence of Corporate Social Responsibility, Accountability and Commitment to serve the common is also in the back seat in the developing economy like India
  • Health related problems to the human are on the increase due to poor quality of air and water.
  • Open sewage problem in metros and urban environment reduced the ground water quality. Ground water is one of the important resources for various needs of urban consumer
  • Increasing concrete jungles without green cover is the backbone for all the above mentioned problems. Hence, urban greening concept and water harvesting systems become important and imperative in this context. Hence the project is proposed to address the need for urban greening in Tamil Nadu

Project Strategy

The project is aimed to assess the CO2 level and to optimize the O2 requirements of the dwelling population and to suggest suitable urban forestry model for effective pollution abatement by adopting the following methodology.

  • Assess the Concentration of air pollutants (CO, CO2, NO2 and SO2)  and level of noise pollution in Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichy and Madurai Corporations
  • The Noxious gases and its concentration will be measured by Environment Monitor which is an automated instrument (GMP 343) and the data has been collected at periodic intervals
  • CO is measured for ambient air within and outside the forest patches. To cite an example, one monitor is fixed at Gandhipuram of Coimbatore Corporation and the other at the Botanical Garden premises of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore so as to highlight the extent of carbon deposits in the atmosphere near to Gandhipuram and the capacity to digest the emitted carbon by the tree patches in the premises of TNAU, Coimbatore. On measuring the data, the need based model to the urban front will be designed
  • Measurement of data will be made at hourly basis and the carbon deposits particularly during (dynamic human activity) 07.00 hours; 12.00 hours; 17.00 hours and 22.00 hours every day to assess the extent of pollution in different time horizon.
  • Assess the number of trees in the urban pockets and its capacity to provide oxygen demand
  • Assess the gap in demand for oxygen for breathing and supply level from the growing trees in the urban areas
  • Develop the strategy to plant the trees in the urban pockets involving the NGOs and other community organizations and based on the adoption approaches.
  • Creation of Green Islands, parks, ponds and tanks to enrich the ground water
  • Saving the common property resources through appropriate strategy

Project Goals

  • To assess the Concentration of air pollutants (CO, CO­2, SO2 and NO2) and level of noise pollution (in decibels) in the identified municipal corporations at different time horizon
  • Assess the Oxygen demand for dwelling population in the urban front
  • To document the existing urban tree resources for their capacity to deliver Oxygen and to absorb noise.
  • To design site specific Urban Forestry Model to combat air and noise pollution.

Project Components

  • Survey of Existing Trees in the Urban Pockets
  • Survey to assess the status of tanks and ponds in the urban pockets
  • Survey to assess air quality, water quality
  • Survey to assess the potential areas for green cover
  • Survey to assess the user and participating agencies in urban greening
  • Training to the stakeholder organizations like NGOs, Corporation Officials
  • Awareness creation exercise to the stakeholders

Deliverables (Quantifiable)

  • Wardwise, Streetwise Number of Trees available in the city will be enlisted
  • Documentation of Urban Population, Vehicle Population, Industrial Population will be enumerated
  • NO2 Concentration will be measured and recorded in tonnes
  • SO2 Concentration will be measured and recorded in tonnes
  • CO2 Concentration will be measured and recorded in tones
  • Noise pollution in different municipal corporations will be measured and recorded in decibels
  • Oxygen produced in a day by a tree will be estimated in tonnes
  • Humidity and Temperature will be estimated and recorded at periodic intervals

Expected Outcome (Quantifiable)

  • Conduct of Tree Census will give a clear picture on the need of green cover for the urban environment to combat environmental pollution
  • Designing and implementation of appropriate urban forestry model to different wards, streets and parks will drastically reduce the pollution load.
  • Study will identify the type of linkages needed to enrich and maintain the green cover in the urban pockets


Dean, Forest College and Research Institute
Coimbatore- 641301
Phone: 04254-222010,04254-222398
Fax: 04254-225064