A Man-Made Forest in rocky hilly terrain
Mr. Hari MR, the Managing director of Invis Multimedia, had dabbled in many natural experiments at his property in Puliyarakonam, a rocky area in Thiruvananthapuram. It was the words of Prof. Akira Miyawaki, which inspired him to try his hand in afforestation. With the help of a few keen volunteers, he set forth on his mission to combat deforestation.
Why the Miyawaki Method?
It was the use of native plants in a small area that initially attracted him to the Miyawaki Method of Afforestation. Prof. Miyawaki’s research says that the use of indigenous varieties of plants can accelerate the entire ecosystem an area. His approach ensures that the landscape and space issues could no longer be excuses, and he envisioned like his mentor that each home could indeed have its own micro-forest.
Where it is located?
Puliyarakonam forest is located in Mylamood in Thiruvananthapuram. On the road from Vattiyoorkavu to Puliyarakonam, you can see Mylamood Church on the left side half a kilometer away from Vellaikadavu Bridge and half a kilometer behind Puliyarakonam. Take the road beside the church on the left side, and about 500 meters in, one can see a waiting shed. Our micro-forest is just up the ensuing road.
Type of Terrain: The total area is around 1200 sq. ft and consisted primarily of dry rocky land.
Building the first forest
Puliyarakonam was our very first attempt at the Miyawaki Method of Afforestation. The first step for any man-made forest is to prepare the site for planting. Puliyarakonam’s terrain comprised mainly of rocks on a downward slope and these had to be cleared with bulldozers. The next big challenge was water scarcity since the natural slope of the land meant that water kept flowing downwards. Strategically placed logs of wood helped impede this flow and kept the water in check. Micro-irrigation practices had to be implemented to ensure that each of our saplings was well hydrated.
The collection of saplings of indigenous plants and a special nursery for the same was also done simultaneously.
Type of plants
400 saplings that belong to around 170 species have been placed here, which include Athi, Ithi, Arayal, Peraal, Chembakam, Ashokam, Neermathalam, Neermaruth, Chittaretha, Aadalodakam, Edampiri Valampiri, Erikku, Amruthavally, Changalam Parada, Thanny, Kadukka, and Nelli.
Moment of Achievement for Crowd Foresting
To see a former rocky landscape transform itself inside a year into a buzzing forest is a source of great inspiration to us as the growth rate has doubled our own initial estimates.