The success story of the recent revival of the Kurichi lake in Ambalapattu village was enhanced by the setting up of micro forests in the waterbody through Miyawaki method.
It all began when the youth and the elderly of Ambalapattu, disappointed by the poor flow due to alleged improper desilting works, decided to revive the 20-acre Kurichi Eri at Orathanadu that was once the main source of water for irrigation as well as for drinking purposes in the locality.
Plunging into action, the toil of the youth for the next 65-odd days soon bore fruit, with the Kurichi lake now seeing water filled to the brim and satisfying agricultural as well as drinking needs of the locality.
Despite the efforts for the lake’s revival turning out successful as per plan, the youth still found something amiss. That was when the idea to provide shelter to the birds around and add to the sight of the lake reportedly sparked. Taking in the suggestion of environmentalist ‘Vanan’ Kalaimani to create sand islands in the middle of the lake so that it would be at a distant reach from human habitat and ensure a safe dwelling place for birds, the locals again plunged into action.
Accordingly, three mounds were formed in the Kurichi lake and the volunteers planted hundreds of saplings of various indigenous varieties in them. “We established a small forest based on the Miyawaki method, which is the practice of planting saplings introduced by Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist and expert in plant ecology specialising in seeds and the study of natural forests, enabling to grow a forest in a record time of two years,” said Kalaimani.
The locals have begun planting saplings of fruit and shade-providing trees on the mounds in Kurichi lake so that it would support the birds while resting and nesting. They have so far planted indigenous varieties like Athi, Magizham and Aalam which are expected to grow to a considerable level within two years. Around 300 saplings each have been planted in the sand ‘islands’.
As per the Miyawaki method, each sapling would be planted spaced at an equal distance of two feet, Kalaimani said, adding that the mounds would then turn into a dense forest within two to three years’ time and nature would reciprocate by blessing the people. Kalaimani has earlier involved in planting around one lakh trees in delta districts like Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam. While he also established Miyawaki forests at the government girls’ higher secondary school in Kumbakonam, the one at the Nannilam Bharathidasan College complex is being undertaken with the help of students. He was also responsible for the planting of around 92,000 palm trees in the Vedaranyam-Nagapattinam stretch in 2018.
With this being the season for migratory birds to come down and nest, the mini forests on Kurichi lake are finally expected to turn a haven for the avians that the region otherwise lacked for years.
Understanding Miyawaki Method