A Tree Planted By The Queen Of England Has Been Destroyed By Termites
We Americans probably think that we experience some of the worst termite-related problems in the world. Termites certainly cause the US the greatest amount of economic damage, right? It is true that termite activity in the US causes billions of dollars in economic damage each year, so of course they are a problem in America. If you have not experienced a termite infestation during your lifetime, then you surely know someone who has. Not only does the US have several different native termite populations, but the US also suffers from damage caused by invasive termites, such as Formosan termites. However, there are other countries that experience termite-related damage on a much larger scale than the US. It is debatable as to which countries experience more termite-related damages than the U.S.. Unless that country is, of course, India. In India termites ravage areas ranging from small villages to large cities. In fact, termites are so problematic in India that one town was emptied of residents as the result of an overwhelming termite infestation. More recently, termites have destroyed, what was likely considered by many to be, the most important tree in the entire country. A Gulmohar tree that was planted by Queen Elizabeth of England in 1961, has been devoured by termites.
The royal tree was significant to many as it was planted by the British monarch during a festival that saw the opening of one of the world’s most prestigious academic institutes. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) opened on January 27th, 1961. This day has been celebrated in the country of India every year since. On the day the doors opened a large celebration took place. This celebration was attended by dignitaries from all over the world. President Rajendra Prasad, the then president of India, was in attendance. The planting of the tree was symbolic of the good relations that existed between Great Britain and India following India’s independence from Great Britain in 1947. For several decades the tree itself stood as a reminder of the British monarch’s gesture of goodwill. In India, not even a tree that serves as a symbol for national pride and independence can stand up to the destructive force of termites.
Do you think that the tree could have been saved if a termite problem had been discovered early during the infestation? Do you think that the tree more likely fell victim to negligence rather than a severe termite infestation? How long would it take for termites cause noticeable damage to a tree around fifteen feet high?