5,700 trees to restore the sacred Arunachala Hill
Conservation Project Snapshot
Action: Planting 5,700 trees to restore the sacred Arunachala Hill in Tamil Nadu, India
Location: Arunachala Hill, Tamil Nadu, India
Fundraising target: $5,700
Why this project?
The sacred Arunachala Hill in Tamil Nadu rises alone from the surrounding plains to a height of 860m. It was once covered in forests that supported tigers and other wildlife as ancient Tamil poems attest. But years of wood-cutting and man-made fires left only pockets of stunted trees.
The hill is one of five main shaivite holy places in South India and is a site of pilgrimage. Geologically, the hill is an outlier of the Eastern Ghats, a broken line of ancient granitic hills that run the length of the India's eastern side, and passes less than 30km to the west of Thiruvannamalai.
In 1988, restoration of the forest on Arunachala began with a grassroots movement. Through supporting The Forest Way Trust, a local non-profit organisation, we will continue the work to restore Arunachala Hill. In the nursery at the foot of Arunachala Hill, we will grow the trees and shrubs native to this region. They will then be planted by the team on the slopes of the hill. Follow-up care is then taken to increase survival rates. Flammable grasses will also be removed to reduce the risk of fires.
What type of trees are chosen?
The trees established through this project are native species to this site. More than 70 indigenous species will be established.
Have we done this before?
The reforestation work on Arunachala hill is an unfolding success story. An impressive 1,500,000 trees have been established since 1988, supporting a variety of forest types and providing habitat for many plant and animal species.
Local community involvement
Since its inception, the project has provided employment for local people from surrounding villages who are otherwise severely economically disadvantaged. At all times, about 30 families are supported through full-time employment in seed collection and tree propagation in the nursery, planting trees in the monsoon season, and fire regime management after each monsoon season.
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