Tamil Nadu

Creating green cover, the Miyawaki way

Nurturing forests:At the Siruthuli Office in Coimbatore.— Photo: M. Periasamy  

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Coimbatoreans say urban forests will enhance greening of the city



The forest is just around 2,000 sq.ft. in area. Three hundred trees are packed into so densely that it is impossible to enter. But even standing outside, one can hear insects, birds and the leaves falling on the forest floor.

It is difficult to believe this patch of deep woods, standing bang in the middle of a residential colony G.V. Residency is only about seven months old. “This is the Miyawaki method of afforestation,” explains R. Raveendran, a resident of that locality and member, RAAC. “We can create many such mini Miyawaki forests in the city in almost all the localities where there is even a little space,” he says.

Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist and ecologist, has been planting forests along the coastline of Japan to protect it from Tsunamis and soil erosion. 

In our city, where real estate rules, space is scarce. Concrete structures loom where once there were trees, and many old timers mourn the loss of the green cover. But, Miyawaki’s way has caught the imagination of some Coimbatoreans.   

In Yellow Train, a school on the outskirts of the city, C.J. Vikram has planted a forest too. “In November last year, children of our school planted nearly 600 saplings. We gathered various native species of trees from the Nilgiri Biosphere Nature Park and Isha Nursery, planted them and are taking care of it. The school is on a 30-acre property where water is scarce and it is hot and dusty. We had to do something which created a micro climate for children to feel comfortable during play time, recharge the groundwater table and bring back the native species of insect, bird and animal life for children to experience.” Yellow Train has planted the saplings on a 2,000-sq.ft. of land. 

Quoting Miyawaki, Vikram says, the best forest management technique is no management at all. “Just look after the saplings for a year or so and after that they are on their own. The fittest of them survive, just like they would in a natural forest.”   

On the premises of the Pricol factory, vice-chairman Vanitha Mohan and her team have also created a forest. “When we heard about urban forests, we decided to experiment with the idea. We planted 1,600 saplings. It was sort of symbolic, one tree for every person who worked in the factory. I am amazed at the prolific growth of the saplings.

The 11 cents on which this forest stands now is home to butterflies, peacocks and so many other birds. It seems to me like each sapling is competing with the other to reach upwards!”

Ms. Vanitha Mohan says it is a wonderful opportunity for the Corporation to identify reserve sites and plant forests there.

“One can plant as many as 800 saplings on five cents,” she says and adds that it would be ideal if native forests could be planted along highways to form a green corridor and even by the side of railway tracks, like they have done at the Siruthuli office in Sungam. The area along the railway track there was bare and nothing more than a garbage dump. But now, saplings are being planted on small stretches. First 60 saplings were planted to celebrate the special day and then another 80 to commemorate another milestone birthday. And they plan to continue planting saplings along that stretch.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2018 1:14:54 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/creating-green-cover-the-miyawaki-way/article7556501.ece