Miyawaki forests flourish around Singanallur Lake

Combined efforts of city-based Centre for Urban Biodiversity Conservation and Education (CUBE) and Coimbatore Corporation in making the 288 acre Singanallur Lake in Coimbatore city a model lake have started bearing fruits. The banks running for 5 km that had less than 100 trees a year ago have now more than 550 sub adult trees that are about 20 to 25 feet high.
View of one of the Miyawaki Forest patches that is a year old on the Singanallur Lake
View of one of the Miyawaki Forest patches that is a year old on the Singanallur Lake

Coimbatore

CUBE for which the Corporation Commissioner is the president has research scholars, students and environmental activists as its members. They work on the lake every Saturday. They began with preventing various anti social activities that were rampant on the abandoned bund of the lake. This included unabated dumping of construction wastes on the lake’s bund, consuming liquor and even poaching migratory birds. 
“One day we removed more than 4,000 liquor bottles from the bund. Hard fought efforts have resulted in these anti social activities coming down. We started planting trees to improve green cover, attract more birds and give the urban population that has been neglecting trees for many years the experience of having an actual lake like experience,” said Vinny R Peter a research scholar and a key person behind CUBE. 
One of the volunteers V Sathish (39) of Saibaba Colony who donated Rs. 50,000 for the maintenance and upkeep of one of these plots for a year was skeptical of trees growing in a cramped space. “That plot is now 10 months old and I am amazed at what it has turned out to be,” he added. The efforts began with clearing 250 truckloads of debris and foundry wastes that polluted the lake, making it impossible for trees to grow. 
In June 2016 the first Miyawaki Forest was created with 150 saplings being planted on 750 sqft. In the next two months 250 saplings were planted on a 1,000 sq-ft. plot and another 166 saplings on 500 sq.ft. These trees have proved that the method of creating dense forests is successful in Coimbatore too. 
On Sunday, they began work on the fourth Miyawaki Forest plantation on the lake bund. As many as 500 saplings of 50 varieties of trees were planted in 1,500 sq.ft. with three feet space between the saplings. This plot also has a 200 sqft open area in the middle. 
“In a few months when these saplings grow we will bring people to this open space to give them an experience of being inside a forest,” S Sokkalingam who works on the lake every week, said.
EFFORTS BEHIND THE CHANGE
  • In the first phase more than 250 truckloads of debris was removed from the upper surface of the lake’s bund. 
  • For each of the four Miyawaki Forests soil had to be dug for an additional seven feet 
  • This soil was filled with a mixture of loosely packed soil for six to seven feet to enable speedy penetration of the root
  • The package also has a mixture of green leaf wastes, food wastes, dry flowers and manure and microbes. 
  • A borewell was drilled and pipeline laid for more than 1,500 feet to water the Miyawaki Forests. 
  • Most of trees in the Miyawaki Forests are 20 to 25 feet tall and some are close to 30 feet tall. 
  • Temperature amidst these sub adult trees in small plots is five degrees less than outside.

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