13 December 2006

Reforestation Video

Between 1985-1989 the regeneration of Arunachala was something of Apeetha Arunagiri's (an Australian living at Arunachala) personal commitment and passion. However in 1989 the scheme gained official status when ARS (Arunachala Reforestation Society) was formed with her at the helm; a position she would occupy till about 1993.

In 1989 substantial funding started to come after Apeetha contacted RIC (Rainforest Information Centre Inc) for support to regenerate Arunachala to its former forested state. Some of this funding came via the Australian Government aid agency, AusAID and the Threshold Foundation. After initial visits from RIC representatives, an Australian John Button, a permaculture technician and tree planter, remained with the ARS project at Arunachala for eight years to help with the work.

Apart from planting and seeding the barren slopes of Arunachala, the project has focussed on environmental education, establishment of nurseries, skills training, credit schemes in villages, and the refurbishment of traditional gardens in the main temple. Also on temple lands, ARS has regenerated wastelands into productive food, fodder and timber forest.

On the Mountain itself, since 1991, the Arunachala Reforestation Society has been responsible for planting around 5,000-20,000 trees a year. Initially survival rate for the trees was 30% but now that figure stands at the much improved 60-70%.

As a result of a land donation, the ARS has developed a Permaculture Demonstration Farm and Educational Centre. Training and demonstrations in permaculture are held there and surrounding villagers are taught how sustainable land-use patterns can provide food, fuel, fodder, herbs and medicines in the process of the restoration of even severely degraded land.

Rainforest Information Centre

The Rainforest Information Centre Inc., (RIC) is a non-profit, volunteer organisation dedicated to the protection of the Earth's rainforests and the indigenous people who depend on them.

The RIC was born out of a successful struggle to save the sub-tropical rainforests of New South Wales, Australia in the early 1980s. Since then the Organisation has been involved in campaigns and projects to protect rainforests and recognise the legitimate development aspirations of rainforest peoples.

Project Arunachala has been supported by RIC since the late 1980's. The afforestation and environmental regeneration project was initiated in 1988 by Apeetha Arunagiri. She contacted RIC with an outline of the situation and a plea for support for the Annamalai Reforestation Society (ARS) which she established to regenerate the mountain to its former forested condition. In spite of the fact that the district is classified as semi-arid (thus far from the category of rainforest), the decision to work with the project was taken.


In the below video John Seed of the Rainforest Information Centre talks of Arunachala and about the association of the Rainforest Information Centre with the Arunachala Reforestation Society.

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Reweaving Shiva's Robes

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Arunachala Afforestation society was formed by Apeetha and now without serious effort from the local community it would be very hard to sustain the plants and trees in the surrounding areas of Arunachala, especially in the Mallavadi forest. Even today cattles are allowed in to the forest which feed on the young plants that were planted few years back.If this continues, all the efforts taken by apeetha and her society will be disturbed tremendously.So,i appeal to the people whoever reads this, please take care of the forest especially at Mallavadi.If cattles continue to be allowed in the mallavadi forest, it would vanish in another five years.Logging of wood still continues to exist here!-
Satheesh Kumar