EU supported project to “bring back forests on forest land”: Auroville bioregion – Tamil Nadu

Auroville Green Practices Portal
01 April 2002 | by Isha; source: Auroville Today, April 2002
European Union supports Auroville’s afforestation project. The planting of 75,000 trees within Auroville, fortifying Auroville’s forest gene and bunding and check dam work needed to combat soil erosion and enhance groundwater percolation are going to be the main components of the EU supported project.

Joss and Anita of Pitchandikulam, Paul, Jaap, Walter, Glenn, Dirk, Mike, Gemma, now joined by Paula (a Newcomer to Auroville), will embody our own pool of human resources. This team from Auroville is enhanced by participation from Mr. Abdul Kareem of FRLHT Bangalore (Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions), Mr. A.N. Sharma, of the Institute of Rural Management, and Ms. Manjula whose work with Irula tribal women in the Chingleput area has proved very successful. […]

The project is designed to support the planting of 75,000 trees within Auroville, fortifying AV forest gene banks in designated sanctuary areas to the north and south of the City area, along with bunding and checkdam work needed to combat soil erosion and enhance groundwater percolation. Other aspects directly related to our own development is the partial funding for the new herbarium, under Walter’s direction, at the new Botanical Gardens site.

The project also focuses on work in the Auroville bioregion, specifically to the north of Kaluveli Tank and its watershed. The objective is to “bring back forests on forest land”, in Joss’ words. In the present environmental circumstances only very small pockets of natural TDEF remain in the coastal regions, in patches of reserved forest, sacred groves, and in hillside gullies to elevations of about 500 metres. These latter have survived intact primarily in riparian microclimates, where seasonal streams ensure seed dispersal and natural topography limits access to grazing, cultivation, and fuel wood harvesting. Already in colonial times, only an estimated 0.1% of this TDEF ecosystem was in evidence. Joss hopes that in 50 years it will be possible to recreate climax tropical dry evergreen forest (TDEF) previously found predominantly along the coast of Tamil Nadu. In order to achieve this aim the project will coordinate and collaborate closely with Tamil Nadu State Forest Department officials. Auroville is already quite advanced in the work of identifying existing remnant species, with already 30 years of input, the most detailed in the last 10 years.

Source: European Union Supports TDEF Project
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Date Visited: Thu Apr 04 2013 11:42:53 GMT+0200 (CEST)

JANAKI LENIN, The Hindu, May 6, 2011

[…] Auroville is a massive seed bank of TDEF species. During the early years of planting, several Aurovillians travelled to tiny patches of remnant forests and sacred groves for seed collection. These have grown into trees, cross-pollinated with individuals from other forests and the genetic diversity of the resulting seeds is probably richer in Auroville now than elsewhere. So, when the Botanical Garden was to be established, Paul didn’t have to go far to find seeds.

Besides being a repository of native trees, the Garden is also a large open-air classroom for schoolchildren. They spend the day exploring a labyrinth (check it out on Google Earth), learn how plants cope with the lack of water at the cactus garden, and discover that grasses provide 50 per cent of our nutrients, besides roofing and other construction materials. […]

Source: My Husband and Other Animals — Gardening a forest – The Hindu
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Date Visited: 18 January 2021

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