Through the Lens: Life and Politics in Asia | Environment | South Asia

Meet India’s ‘Tree Doctor’

Urban conservationist Vijay Nishanth is on a quest to save India’s trees.

We have doctors for humans and animals, so why not a tree doctor? That’s a question Vijay Nishanth asks, to drive the point home that trees, too, are living beings. Nishanth, an urban conservationist and animal activist based in the south Indian city of Bengaluru, says he talks to trees and they listen. Citing ancient Indian wisdom, Nishanth says humans flourish when they are surrounded by trees. However, trees are now regularly being chopped down thanks to the urbanization happening in many parts of the country, he says.

The founder of a non-profit group, Project Vruksha, Nishanth says trees are also being poisoned, adding that he has an “eye for trees” and can revive them.

Nishanth’s organization quantifies biodiversity through a scientific tree census and has created a biodiversity portal for Bengaluru’s Jayanagar area, which has about 8,000 trees. In this video, Nishanth shares how he expresses his love for trees and what drives him to save them.