Afforestation Programs

 

Project: Afforestation of Barren Rocky Land

Motivation: Many villages typically have several acres of marginal land (called ‘Manti’ in Anuganalu). This land belongs to the Panchayat and is commonly used to graze cattle. With increasing demands on land, this region is often encroached until the most unproductive patch alone remains. Dr. Gowda possesses vivid memories of greenery spilling over from the hills of the Western Ghats and extending all the way to Anuganalu, a corridor flourish with local plants and animals. Thus an experiment to check the resilience of local flora was conceived.

 Specific Aims:

  1. 1.Work with the Village Panchayat and obtain the cooperation of the community to afforest this  marginal land.

  2. 2.Afforest the region with local trees grown in the BCRT nursery.

  3. 3.Use this as a model to educate people about the methods of afforesting barren lands.

 


A Brief Description of the Project: This is one of the projects, whose outcome finally led to the formation of BCRT. It has remained one of the great successes of BCRT’s efforts and a ‘ray of hope’ for all deforested regions around Western Ghats.

In 2001, Dr. Gowda proposed the idea of afforestation in the village Panchayat and wondered if the village was willing to give the ‘Manti’ freely for this purpose. He expected this land not to be used for construction, or grazing. In turn the project promised employment in the form of caring for a nursery. About six months time was given to the villagers to allow them to decide on the issue.

After obtaining their consent, about ten species, including Teak (Tectona grandis), Pongamia, Mangium(Acacia mangium), Acacia, Silver Oak (Grevelia robusta), Jackfruit (Artocarpus integrefolia), Neem (Azadirachta indica) were acquired in 2001.

 

Figure:   A barren stretch (Doddamanti) within Anuganalu in the year 2001, just as BCRT was beginning to afforest it (above). Another picture of the same area taken in 2004: Villagers are demonstrated the success of BCRT’s efforts in afforesting this land (below).


Residents in and around Anuganalu were invited to plant these saplings, with the intention of creating a sense of belonging among them. By 2002 most of the barren area was covered with these plants. The villagers cooperated enthusiastically and kept their cattle away from this region. Those plants that did not survive were replaced by more saplings. The moisture retaining ability of the land naturally increased. Gradually, several of the native species started to spring from the same land that looked barren not so long ago. In just about three years time, over 100 different local plant species, including Sandal (Santalum album), Albizzia spp., Fire-of-the-Forest (Butea monosperma) and Jackfruit trees (Artocarpus integrefolia) are thriving in this region.

This success spurred further interest among villagers. The Manti had remained uncultivated primarily for its rocky nature. Quarrying had begun and several tens of cubic meters of rock were already broken into. This activity was stopped upon requests from BCRT, thus preserving a chunk of ecosystem that is rich in its own way, supporting chameleons, lizards, lichens and several xerophytes. With hunting avoided, the local rabbit population is also on the rise in this forest. Thus, a barren-stretch is now supporting several hundreds of local flora and fauna and stands as a direct proof to the resilience of Mother Nature. If similar steps are taken elsewhere too, this experiment promises rich results in rejuvenating local flora.

 

  1. Bullet    Barren Rocky Land to Green land conversion: Click here

  2. Bullet    Anuganalu Village people Celebration: Click here