What makes a Tree Doctor? | Vijay Nishanth | TEDxKIITUniversity

Is it possible to count the number of trees or keep track of the trees that are being cut?

Vijay Nishanth from Bengaluru seems to have answers to these questions and more. Popularly known as “India’s Tree Doctor”, he is the founder of Project Vruksha. They got an iPad to record the images for the trees. It was considered a milestone in the city’s history and the project made it to the Bengaluru Darshana Book, which is an in-depth compilation tracing the city’s origins right from the ninth century.

Using the know-how and expertise from his stint at the software job, Vijay decided to apply the ideas and the techniques he learnt to track trees on his website, Vruksha.com. Vruksha was founded in 2010 with help from a friend, Ravi Kumar, who helped with the funding. Shariff S, one of the co-founders of Vruksha, built the app and the platform to enable the documentation process. He comes from a technical background and has skills in working on GIS systems and e-commerce solutions.

The website gives you a picture of medium and large trees that are denoted with an icon of a green tree, saplings are marked as yellow trees, while free spaces where trees can be planted are marked with orange trees. Apart from GPS data, each tree is photographed and ranked on health, and its thickness and height measured and recorded. And the number of stars denotes the health of the tree. Vruksha also marks free spaces on the map with recommendations on what trees can be planted at different locations. There are currently 85 different species that are listed on the website. In the past couple of years, the team has been trying to incorporate a timeline of the trees planted and mapped. According to Vijay, it would take a team of 10 people about 18 months to map trees in all the wards of Bengaluru. Rightly called “India’s Tree Doctor”, Vijay Nishanth is at the forefront of safeguarding trees and maintaining Bengaluru’s green cover. His Project Vruksha is aimed at identifying trees and seeking help to preserve them as well as standing up to the relentless tree-felling in the city. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx