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Updated: April 20, 2013 11:37 IST

Creating real forests, not mere green cover

Amutha Kannan
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Participants, who attended the workshop on afforestation, planting saplings at PSG Centre for Active Learning Programme Service in Anaikatti.
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Participants, who attended the workshop on afforestation, planting saplings at PSG Centre for Active Learning Programme Service in Anaikatti.

With increasing awareness on depletion of green cover in urban areas, environment activists are constantly finding ways to improve the tree population. And two faculty of PSG Institute of Management (PSGIM) are helping like-minded people in getting trained to plant saplings to create a whole forest.

And, that means a real natural forest, in 1,000 sq. ft. with varied species of native trees, which can resemble a 100-year old one in just 10 years, true to the real meaning of the term ‘afforestation’.

And, this has been made possible with the help of ‘Afforestt’, an organisation that “is an end-to-end service provider for creating native, wild, and maintenance-free forests” in urban spaces and homes. When N. Vivek, Associate Professor, and K.P. Naachimuthu, Assistant Professor, heard about the organisation, they wanted to spread awareness about the concept to interested Coimbatoreans, which is based on the methodology proposed by Japanese scientist Akira Miyawaki.

The concept works this way – saplings of native species, characteristic of that area and not more than four months old are chosen for planting. The minimum space required is 1,000 sq ft to plant 50 to 90 saplings. Thirty times more saplings are planted compared to conventional planting system. They are planted at a gap of 1.5 ft. This is based on the premise that the roots of the plants go deep because they do not get space on the sides. No maintenance and water is required after two years. The growth is 10 times faster.

The initiative here took off recently with 42 enthusiastic nature lovers getting trained by Shubhendu Sharma, Founder of ‘Afforestt’, and planting 300 saplings of 47 species – native to Anaikatti – at the PSG Centre of Active Learning Programme Service.

And, this is unique in that it is not only a first for Coimbatore, but also for Mr. Sharma because, according to him, this is the first time that anyone had invited him over for a training workshop.

“Since the organisation took off in 2011, ‘Afforestt’ has created many forests for individuals and corporates. But we have been called only to create the forest, not to conduct training or workshops. It is heartening that PSGIM took this initiative. The participants took only two hours to grasp the theory, and the rest of the day was spent getting their hands dirty on the field doing the actual planting,” Mr. Sharma said.

At the end of the day, be believed that even if one person went back and created a forest on his own, then the effort was not wasted.

Mr. Vivek said that PSGIM was keen on taking forward this initiative and sharing the knowledge with other like-minded people who were enthusiastic about creating forests in urban areas.

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