Plants are crucial for the existence of life forms on the planet – their role in the sustenance of the environment constantly reminds that we need to be taking care of them, more than ever. Getting to live in a pure environment has become somewhat difficult, thanks to the global warming that has taken over the length and breadth of the planet with global temperatures on the rise. A lot of the measures taken to arrest the progress of the global warming trends have to do with giving greenery and plants the attention they deserve.
Plants do their bit to reduce pollution levels in the air and improve its quality. They are also instrumental for a cooler, healthier environment, by absorbing noise. preventing soil erosion.. there’s actually a long list of the benefits that accrue from planting more trees.
In recent years, we’ve come to see the growing concerns about environmental risks due to global warming and deforestation ..and in the light of these, plants have influenced damage control measures in a big way.
With urban settlements growing rapidly, the impact on biodiversity and environment is huge. As per reports, at least 50 percent of the world’s population resides in cities. Efforts are required to mitigate the risks posed to the natural resources and the economic, sociological and physiological well-being. Developing more ‘ green urban spaces’ becomes especially necessary in mega cities which have a relatively high density of population. Urban spaces are aimed at improving the health and well-being of people and natural ecosystems. Urban forests provide a range of important ecosystem services that are critical for the sustainability of smart cities.
Urban forestry deals with development of habitats such as parks, streets, and woodlands.
While unarguably aiding in the beautification of vacant areas, even more, urbanized green spaces are crucial to human habitats and ecosystems for climate moderation, preventing water runoff and soil erosion, and providing purer air, shelter and shade. A lot of energy is saved by having more ‘greener zones’ around us.
Indoor plants have always added to the beauty of interiors, and have a pleasing effect on the senses, reducing stress levels. Buildings are less noisier and more relaxed but, at the same time, more stimulating and interesting.
Research says that plants are known to absorb noise and reduce pollution, making the environment more comfortable for the occupants.
The idea of growing plants in high-tech grow houses or across vertical structures In urban locations is giving traditional farming a much-needed makeover. The plants are grown in ‘stacks’ or across vertical levels. The vertical farms may be self-contained or contribute to a picturesque urban look by being part of residential and office buildings too… they are the product of greenhouse agriculture, renewable energy, and hydroponics that can help to boost the growth of agricultural centers within urban areas.
Vertical farming does do away with the requirements for arable farm land required for cultivation as they can be developed in most locations without the use of soil or sunlight – the results could be achieved by artificial lighting systems, climate control or hydroponics.
Vertical farming could be ideal for certain varieties as opposed to others with larger space requirements and growth cycles. There is a host of other positives in terms of better availability of plant varieties, increased production, reduced use of pesticides and low levels of pollution on account of shorter distribution lines.
Vertical farming also reduces the carbon footprint because the dependence on fossil fuels is substantially reduced. With vertical farming crops can be utilized to produce fuel. Globally, the concept is growing at a steady pace in United States, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
Hydroponics gives a whole new dimension to traditional gardening in so much that it completes obviates the need for a soil medium that is supposed to aid plant growth. However, the other growth factors – sunlight, air and nutrients still need to be just there as before.
Hydroponics is based on the rationale that plants need nutrients to grow, and not necessarily soil. Hence, it is possible for plants to grow by allowing roots absorb a nutrient rich solution, or by supporting them with an inert medium and passing nutritious water across them often. The results are even better than those obtained by traditional gardening.
The nutrient solution or growing media can be vermiculite, perlite, coconut coir, and other mixtures. Also, there needs to be the right kind of nutrient solution that will help the plants grow in addition to providing the necessary heating or cooling.
Hydroponics fills the food insufficiency gap since plants can be grown hydroponically in drought like situations too, and all the year round, so crops can be grown and made available at all times.
Hydroponic gardening is an industry that has been gradually making its way to the innovative systems of the future, more so in developed countries.
Green rooftops can be a really attractive sight ..and blend in with the natural landscape. Definitely convenient; also we really need not worry about any undue interference on private spaces-this one is reasonably out of reach.
It comes with its own set of benefits – it provides a cool ‘cover’ for the house/building, and just saves so much energy and money. They provide natural noise and thermal heat insulation, thereby cutting down on utility bills. Because of the increased capability to absorb rainwater, they prevent unnecessary waste in the form of water runoff, and the water can be conserved and put to use. Also, we need not carve out additional spaces for creating a garden, and any such spaces can be put to good use.
With inputs from internet and print sources