With an aim to prepare North Eastern Region in general and the State of Meghalaya in particular for socio economic development through sustainable utilization of Bioresources, the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), a National Institute of Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India, initiated the plantation of cherry blossom trees in Meghalaya in collaboration with the Forest Department of Govt. of Meghalaya. IBSD introduced cherry blossom plantation in Meghalaya in May 2015 since its climatic condition and topography is quite suitable for the tree. The Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) Director, Prof Dinabandhu Sahoo, told that the cherry blossom festival in Meghalaya is an event similar to the event held at Sakura in Japan every year.
He further informed that a mass plantation of cherry blossom trees had been held in two stages in Shillong and along the stretch of Umiam (which is along the National Highway to Guwahati) from May 2015 onwards. The four-day festival that is also India’s First Cherry Blossom festival, which commenced on November 14 2016, attracted tourists from abroad and India alike. Meghalaya’s success encouraged IBSD to try and replicate the hugely popular cherry blossom in the other state. The festival besides giving North Eastern States a more beautiful look also generated valuable revenue for the region.
The Institute has also proposed to the state government to have a jacaranda avenue owing to the fact that this plant species is also available in the state. The mandate of the Institute is sustainable utilization of bioresources for socioeconomic development, specially the North Eastern Region. Cherry blossom trees will now lead the way for promoting sustainable ecotourism in the North-East.
In future, IBSD will promote the development of more Cherry Blossom plantations in Meghalaya. Cherry blossom avenues are also coming up in Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim.
The domestic cherry blossom tree is being used to rejuvenate the landscape, promote sustainable tourism and boost the economy of the North-East.
Prof Dinabandhu Sahoo also requested people to take up cherry blossom plantation in large numbers through avenue creation so that Shillong can celebrate in a grander way in future.
Cherry blossoms have long been associated with Japan, where viewing the short-lived blooms is an enduringly popular pastime to herald the arrival of spring. In Japan the tradition of planting cherry blossoms dates back to the third century. Apart from attracting tourists in large numbers, it has been used to convey the message of peace. The flower is also found in plenty in both China and South Korea.
In the past year, Sakura (Cherry Blossom) — the magnificent quintessential Japanese tree — has made its formal debut in the country.
The tree is known to have a positive psychological impact and is ideal for the North-East, which is among the top ten biodiversity hotspots in the world. IBSD have planted 3,000 trees along the Assam-Shillong highway, which will transform the drive into a wonderful experience.
The Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) has also discovered red cherry blossoms that blossoms in March.