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  • Writer's pictureMohan Murali Vaideeswaran

"Arpudha Vanam" or "Wonderful Forest"

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

Though our forests, sanctuaries and Wildlife Reserves are preserved well, not much thought has gone into the trees and flora that constitute the forests. Many indigenous trees, plants have been wiped out making it hostile to birds and animals and many areas of forests are uninhabited by either animals or birds. Many species of invasive plants are hostile in their spread and have taken over entire landscapes and forest areas. It is hence mandatory to clear these species and introduce native and indigenous trees & plants and create an ecosystem where the native flora and fauna can thrive.

Pertaining to the proposed project, the project proposes to create a model forest called “Arpudha Vanam” or “Wonderful Forest” in our forest areas and rejuvenating local flora and Fauna to showcase an ideal forest. The Project area has been identified as

"Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve" in Tamil Nadu. The present situation is that the area has a depleted forest which is bereft of natural diversity of flora and fauna. The original trees have been cut for various reasons and the natural forest cover has not been regenerated. Invasive plant species has taken over the landscape making it tough for plants and animals to find food and thrive in the area.

Invasive species has taken over the landscape. The invasive tree is a thorny plant brought from abroad for the purpose of firewood which has now taken over major portions of forests.

Prosopis Juliflora:

The vegetation is thorny and webby, thus hampering bird life. The structure of the tree damages wings of birds causing poor birding areas. The generation of other plants in areas occupied by this tree is almost nil. It depletes ground water and during rainy season does not prevent erosion. Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve is an important part of the Forest Ecosystem of South India located at the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats, it shelters various varieties of Trees,Birds, Animals and is an ideal habitat for endangered animals and the Tiger. It is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Tamilnadu and is a major link between the forests of Bandipur and Mudumalai to the forests of BRT. It has a total area of The Sathyamangalam forests link the Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats allowing gene flow between diverse fauna populations of the two eco-regions. There are five distinct forest types: tropical evergreen (Shola), semi-evergreen, mixed-deciduous, dry deciduous and thorn forests.

The Murali Foundation proposes to create an “Arpudha Vanam” or “Wonderful Forest” in an area of 1 acre which would serve as a model forest and that could serve as an ideal habitat for the flora and fauna of the area.

This model forest or Arpudha Vanam will be used for the following purposes:

1) It would be used as a model forest to replicate in other areas of the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve and other forest areas of Tamilnadu and India.

2) It would be used to showcase for educational purposes to teach different flora and fauna of the region in a natural setting.

3) It would be used for ecotourism.

4) To promote birding.

5) To educate and highlight the negative effects of invasive plant species and methods to control them.

The main purpose of the proposal is that Murali foundation will plant native trees and plants. The planted will be watered and protected till they are self-sustaining which may be reached after a period of two years. A mix of various native trees, bushes and shrubs which are native to the area and non-invasive varieties will be planted and an ecosystem for flora and fauna to thrive will be created, allowing people and children to interact with nature thereby inculcating a sense of love of nature and a conservation mentality in them, educate on different types of plants and trees species and harmful effects of invasive plant species, promote Birding interest and allowing them to view different birds in a natural setting.

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