613 of 702 trees on Bellary Road need no permission to cut, if Karnataka Assembly amends Tree Act

A newly proposed amendment by the State Government to the Karnataka Tree Protection Act (1976) asks to denotify about 50 species/ subspecies of trees that currently need permission to be cut down. Simply put, if you need to chop these trees down, you no longer need the permission of the Forest Department.

Media reports state that most of the species identified in this list are those which line Bangalore pathways and will deal a disastrous blow to the city’s already fragile ecosystem. The amendment however states that it is being proposed to “…exempt certain species of trees, which are grown by the farmers in their lands, for cutting trees by obtaining permission”.

The amendment has added more species to the list of 27 trees that didn’t need permission to cut.

Old list of trees that didn’t require permission to cut.

The amended list has 44 species and wide range of bamboos and cassia species. A wide range of species used in urban forestry and streetside planting, like Tabebuia, African Tulip and others have been added to the list, alongwith general trees that the list had earlier.

What happens to Bengaluru’s treeline?

During the widespread protests against the flyover from Chalukya Circle to Hebbal in 2016, Talking Earth, a community initiative, mapped a part of the stretch to collect data on the trees that would have been affected by the project.

The list doesn’t detail all of the trees that the steel flyover would have axed till Esteem Mall, but has about 632 trees from Chalukya circle till a little beyond the Cauvery Theatre towards Palace Orchard Road (approximately about 4.1kms). Details of their species, botanical name, geographical location, diameter of the tree trunks and height etc are available.

The list was then sent to Indian Institute of Science (IISc) who formulated how much Carbon Dioxide is sequestered by these trees every year and their green weight. This data includes the trees in Balabrooie Guest house and the trees that line the Bangalore Golf Club. They however do not include any of the trees in other private properties on this stretch.

Citizen Matters compared the two lists to get an idea of what lay in store and just how many trees could be axed without permission.

Sl# Botanical Name Common name # Situated on the stretch
1 Area Catechu Arecanut  
2 Acacia Auriculiformis/ hybrid/ mangium/ Auri (Yellow Flowering trees) 4
3 Ailanthus Excelsa Tree of Heaven  
4 Albizia saman/ Samanea Saman Rain tree 12
5 All Bamboo (except bambusa arundincea, Dendrocalmus Strictus and those of genus Ochlandra) Bamboo 2
6 All Cassias except Golden Rain Tree Cassia (Cassia fistula, Kakke) Yellow Flowering trees 2
7 Araucaria heterophylla Christmas tree, pine tree 11
8 Anancardium Occidentale Cashew Tree  
9 Casuarina (about 17 species are identified under this) Sheoak, horsetail etc.  
10 Citrus Limon Lemon  
11 Citrus Sinencis Orange  
12 Cocos Nucifera Coconut  
13 Coffee Coffee The only place this is found in Bangalore is the Carlton House.
14 Delonix Regia Gulmohar /mayflower 2
15 Erythrina Indica/ Variegata Indian Coral tree  
16 Genus of Eucalyptus Eucalyptus 3
17 Glircidia Sepium cocoa  
18 Grevillea Robusta Silver Oak  
19 Hopea Wightiana Haiga (timber yielding tree classified as endangered by International Union For conservation of Nature,2011 in its red list )  
20 Heavea Brasiliensis Rubber  
21 Genus of Jacaranda Flowering tree Jacaranda  
22 Kigelia Africana Sausage tree (aanekayi tree in kannada) 1
23 Leucaena leucocephala Subabul  
24 Meesopsis eminii Umbrella tree  
25 Manilkara Zapota Sapota  
26 Melia Dubia Melia 6
27 Millingtonia Hortensis Indian Cork tree 21
28 Moringa Oleifera Drumstick  
29 Morus Alba Mulberry  
30 Murraya koeniigi Curry Leaves tree  
31 Peltoform pterocarpum Indian yellow Flame Flower tree/copper pod 14
32 Genus of Prosopis Flowering Tree  
33 Phanera Purpurea/ Bauhinia Purpurea Purple Orchid trees  
34 Genus of Plumeria Flowering tree 1
35 Polyalthia Longifolia False Ashoka Tree 240
36 Psidium grandiflora Gauva  
37 Sesbania grandiflora Agathi / Agastya 2
38 Simarouba Glauca Paradise Tree  
39 Spathodea Campanulata African Tulip/ Nandi flame/ Pickari tree/ 3
40 Genus of Tabebuia Trumpet Flowering tree 239
41 Genus of Tecoma Yellow Bell tree  

A total of 563 trees of the 632 trees can be cut without any permission needed if this amendment is passed. That means, they would need permission for just 69 trees.

Pic: Meera K

We repeated the exercise with data collected by Harini Nagendra, Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University, mapping trees on CMH Road, 3 and 5th Cross in Indiranagar.

In CMH Road of the 27 trees that were mapped – 23 of them were African tulip and 1 was a rain tree – both species can be chopped without permission if this amendment goes through.

CMH Road

Botanical Name Common Name Number of trees
Spathodea campanulata African Tulip 23
Samanea saman Rain Tree 1
Michelia champaca Champaka 1
Callistemon lancedatus Bottle Bush 1

In Indira Nagar 3rd cross, 31 trees were mapped. Of these, 20 trees can be chopped without any permission required, if this amendment goes through.

Indiranagar 3rd cross

Botanical Name Common Name Number of trees
Azadirachta indica Neem 2
Bauhinia variegata Orchid 4
Cassia fistula Golden Shower 1
Cassia spectabilis Colden Cassia 2
Delonix regia Gulmohar 1
Jacaranda mimosifolia Blue Jacaranda 2
Michelia champaca Champaka 1
Millingtonia hortensis Indian Cork 1
Peltophorum pterocarpum Copper Pod 1
Plumeria rubra Temple Tree 2
Pongamia pinnata Pongam 7
Spathodea campanulata African Tulip 5
Tabebuia avellanedae Pink Lapacho 2

In Indira Nagar 5th cross, a total of 12 trees were mapped. Of these seven trees can be cut without permission, if this amendment goes through.

Indira Nagar 5th cross

Botanical Name Common Name Number of trees
Ficus elastica Indian Rubber 1
Lagerstroemia speciosa Pride of India 1
Michelia champaca Champaka 1
Peltophorum pterocarpum Copper Pod 4
Pongamia pinnata Pongam 1
Spathodea campanulata African Tulip 2
Tabebuia avellanedae Pink Lapacho 1
Thespesia populnea Portia 1

We had a random survey data of 702 trees from just four stretches in Bengaluru. According the current law, all of them require permissions to be cut down. With this proposed amendment, 613 of them can be chopped down without any prior notice.That leaves us with just 89 trees that are protected. No protests will hold water because it is perfectly legal to cut them down without permission.

What does this mean to these areas? Let that sink in.


  1. Prathibha says:

    Save Trees. There would always be alternative for managing traffic.

  2. Amith says:

    In short, the government is on a mission to kill Bangalore.

  3. v narayanan says:

    Need more awareness among citizen to stop indiscriminate felling of life giving Trees by arming with amendment to existing laws which saves our trees

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