THANJAVUR: In the 1970s, a Japanese botanist, Akira Miyawaki, was racking his brains to change the forest landscape in his country, where invasive alien species were flourishing at the expense of the native ones. His critics wondered out aloud how he proposed to usher in the change, and that too by circumventing the natural process that took many decades, if not centuries.
That Miyawaki succeeded in his undertaking is testified by what Vanam – a group of volunteers – is trying to achieve using his methods five decades and two oceans apart. Vanam aims at ushering in a green revolution of sorts in the delta districts that are characterised by a singular lack of dense forests and monoculture farming.
Handheld by the Rotary Club District 2981, Vanam aims to bring 10 lakh square feet land in Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, and Puducherry under the cover of Miyawaki forests. So, what makes the club confident to take up this huge project? It turns out that Vanam’s tryst with the Miyawaki method is not new. The group has created mini forests with this method in many schools of Tiruvarur.
They have created 22 Miyawaki forests so far, besides those under the Rotary Club. The service of 50-odd volunteers of Vanam, most of whom are college students and schoolteachers, is often tapped into by many other groups. “When I wanted to create a Miyawaki forest in my native village, Vanam completed the work in 18 days,” said Ravichandran of the Singapore Pathai Arakkattalai.
The method as well as the group has come to the rescue of many. When the villagers of Ambalapattu in Thanjavur district desilted the Kurichi lake, they availed themselves of the service of Vanam to create a Miyawaki forest at the centre of the lake. The buck doesn’t stop here for Vanam as it is planning to create Miyawaki forests in another 55 areas across the delta.