Godavari River Ecology (Part 1: Native Riparian Trees)

The plantation drives along the rivers should be designed by analyzing the riparian zone and should include plantation of specific native riparian species of trees.

In the 7th edition of Godavari Parikrama or Walk with Godavari with environmentalist Kirti Amritkar (Jeevitnadi, Pune), we explored the native riparian species of flora and fauna which surviving amidst the developing and urbanizing Godavari riverscape in Nashik.

A river edge is divided into following sections: Aquatic Zone, Riparian Zone (includes Floodplain), and Uplands

(Image Source: https://slco.org/watershed/streams-101/the-riparian-zone/)

What is a riparian zone?

“Riparian zones are the areas bordering rivers and other bodies of surface water. They include the floodplain as well as the riparian buffers adjacent to the floodplain. Riparian zones provide many environmental and recreational benefits to streams, groundwater and downstream land areas. Groundwater is usually found at shallower depths in riparian zones than in the surrounding landscape. Riparian zones are visually defined by a greenbelt with a characteristic suite of plants that are adapted to and depend on the shallow water table.” 

(http://allaboutwatersheds.org/library/kyw-poster-files-and-links/riparian-zone)

In this post, we are highlighting the native species of the riparian trees, their significance in the riverine ecosystem, and their location along the Godavari in Nashik. Trees are an integral part of the riparian ecosystem as they help in the building a resilient environment against floods, droughts, and pollution.

Role of trees in the riparian ecology:

  • Trees as shelter (for aquatic fauna)
  • Trees as source of nutrients (in the form of leaves and wood)
  • Trees provide shade (maintains low and high temperatures zones of water to sustain specific fishes and amphibians)
  • Trees as buffer zone
  • Trees reduces soil erosion
  • Trees as natural sponge helps in collection and filtration of water releasing it slowly into the stream

List of specific trees seen along Godavari in Nashik (Ramkund to Tapovan to Ramkund):

1. करंज (Pongamia pinnata):

(Image Source: https://www.pixcove.com/milletia-karanj-pinnata-flower-floret-flora-indian-beech-tree-vegetation-india/)

Location along Godavari: Ramshrusti Udyan at Tapovan has a line of old Karanj Trees

2. जांभूळ Syzygium cumini

(Image Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=Syzygium+cumini&client=firefox-b-ab&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1xNb7hNPbAhVKb30KHdfUA5sQ_AUICigB&biw=1366&bih=654)

Location along Godavari: Ramshrusti Udyan at Tapovan

3. उंबर Ficua racemosa

(Image Source: http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Goolar.html)

4. वाळुंज Salix tetrasperma 

Location along Godavari: Cluster of 3-4 Walunj tree on an island near the bridge Goda Park at Ramwadi

5. शिंदी Phoenix sylvestris

(Image Source: http://phoenix-sylvestris.plantregister.com/)

Location along Godavari: Along newly built ghats behind Godavari MIDC

6. पाणजांभूळ Syzygium heyneanum

(Image Source: http://syzygium-heyneanum.plantregister.com/)

7. बाभूळ Acacia nilotica

(Image Source: https://www.pixcove.com/tree-sapling-babool-acacia-nilotica-clouds-hardy-robust-sky-woody-thorny-dry-forested-grass/)

Location along Godavari: At Goda Park near Ramwadi vehicular bridge

8. अर्जुन Terminalia arjuna

(Image Source: http://terminalia-arjuna.plantregister.com/)

9. कदंब Anthocephalus cadamba

(Image Source: http://anthocephalus-cadamba.plantregister.com/)

Location along Godavari: New Kadamb saplings are planted in the Smruti Udyan adjacent to Amardham

The plantation drives along the rivers should be designed by analyzing the riparian zone and should include plantation of specific native riparian species of trees.


[Acknowledgement: The team of Reconnecting with Godavari is highly grateful to environmentalist Kirti Amritkar (Jeevitnadi, Pune) for guiding us through the entire route of the walk and introducing us to riparian ecology of Godavari]
News Reporter
I am an architect turned anthropologist. After finishing my Masters in Anthropology from University of Pune, I was working with Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune under a project funded by UNICEF and Integrated Child Development Scheme, Government of Maharashtra. During which I was stationed in Nandurbar District of Maharashtra (which is predominantly a tribal region) as a Field Research officer. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali, India. My current research explores the interaction of the cultural-religious, the political-economic and the ecological dimensions of the river in Nashik city in Maharashtra. Broadly, investigating how the multiple perspectives of a natural resource overlap, contradict, challenge and support each other, thus shaping the urban landscape and producing socio-spatial inequalities.

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