Kerala

From barren land into woodland, in 18 years

P.M. Nandakumar with a wild orchid planted in his ‘mini-forest’ at Madakkimala in Wayanad district.  

Away from the urban din and bustle, a nature lover has quietly transformed a barren land to a mini-forest on his homestead at Madakkimala, nearly 10 km away here.

P.M. Nandakumar bought one-and-a-half acres of barren land nearly 18 years ago, with a total of 13 trees in it. Now, the site harbours 1,000-odd trees in 164 species. Thirty-seven of the species come under the rare, endemic, and threatened category.

Sacred grove too

Mr. Nandakumar has also given shape to a sacred grove inside the ‘forest’ with 20 varieties of bamboo and 18 varieties of climbers. There is a collection of wild orchids too that are endemic to the Western Ghats. The collection consists of 73 varieties of epiphytic orchids and 30 varieties of terrestrial orchids.

The arboretum has allotted space for high-value medicinal plants, maintaining 56 species. There are also rhizomes such as ginger (red and black), black turmeric, and Kasthoorimanjal. Thirty varieties of ferns form another component of the woodland.

Details for visitors

Each species is planted with utmost care, with evergreen trees and deciduous trees occupying their own space. All plants are documented with their scientific and common names for a visitor to grasp their details easily.

“Nearly one third of the flowering plants on earth are on the verge of extinction because of climate change and increased human intervention. This reality inspired me to transform the barren land to a miniature forest. I wanted to play my part in conserving Nature and its resources,” he says.

The M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) here helped Mr. Nandakumar plant rare tree species in the woodland. “The effort of a single person has led to the conservation of a large number of species. He deserves to be called a biodiversity hero,” N. Anil Kumar, Senior Director, MSSRF says.


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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 11:57:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/from-barren-land-into-woodland-in-18-years/article35524891.ece

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