Coastal Eco-Restoration

Tags: eco restoration outreach tropical dry evergreen forest
Following the tsunami of 2004, Auroville’s relief and rehabilitation efforts extended to establishing a green-line of diverse and resilient trees along the coast.  In 2005 Shakti Nursery tested the planting efforts the coastal villages with mixed results. Strengthened by that information and supported by Auroville Coastal-area Development Council (ACDC) various innovative preparatory and protection techniques were implemented and a carefully chosen mix of Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest species (TDEF), non-TDEF indigenous and exotic tree saplings was planted  and nurtured in three coastal villages Anumanthai, Chettinagar, and Nochikuppam between 2006 and 2008. This effort was coordinated by Nina from Auroville CSR and Walter Gastmans from Shakti Nursery. The primary implementation team included N. Balachandran, S. Krishnamurthy, and K. Castury from the Shakti Nursery, and several villagers who took part in maintaining nursery, planting trees, setting protection, watering, and caring for them.    
TDEF once existed along the coast. However, it has been lost and except for few sacred groves. Along with losing the forest, the culture and closeness that the coastal community might have once with the forest also dwindled. For long term success of coastal eco-restoration a lot of time, effort, and support are therefore essential, to protect and nurture the trees and to continue awareness generation amongst people. Realizing this, ACDC had also funded several outreach efforts concurrent with the planting effort. This included: environmental education and awareness classes in the village schools for different age groups, a para-taxonomy training program and booklet for high school students, a self-guided TDEF-walk at the Shakti Forest andan accompanying booklet, and a documentary film on the Coastal Eco-Restoration effort, called “A Thin Green Line”. Though the project has technically ended, the trees along the coast continue to grown despite the challenges – such as land speculation and conversion to other uses. A program for its continued protection for another few years would be ideal.


Related video: A Thin Green Line
Source: Auroville Costal-area  Development Council
Film by: Making Macguffin Film Productions


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