Chat Archives
Chat on "Rewilding degraded Land- practical experiences" dated June 21, 2015
  • Susan Sharma: Today's topic is " Rewilding degraded land-practical experiences."
  • Susan Sharma: Guruvayoorappan Shanmugam of Wildlife Protection Society is the moderator.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Yes. We reached
  • Susan Sharma: Welcome Mr. Guruvayurappan
  • Guruvayurappan.S: The topic Rewilding degraded land is now a days very discussed
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Especially in outside forest areas( may be the status of forest!)
  • Guruvayurappan.S: is it not?
  • Susan Sharma: With the monsoon already here, there areis tree plantation work going on everywhere
  • Guruvayurappan.S: yes. that is a good sign
  • Susan Sharma: I mean there is
  • Susan Sharma: What kind of planning do you do before tree plantation?
  • Susan Sharma: Welcome Shyamala
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Plantation works is a second stage/ priority in degraded land rejuvenation
  • Guruvayurappan.S: But for general plantation, we find general species found in the locality
  • Shyamala: Hi Susan
  • Guruvayurappan.S: But for degraded land, soil and moisture conservation practices is mostly needed even if we are planting!
  • Shyamala: Hi.. what exactly would you consider as degraded?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Hi shyamala, what do say?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: The land with natural vegetation and related other wildlife is lost or the land became barren
  • Shyamala: Ok..
  • Guruvayurappan.S: That land has to be rejuvenated to its original condition.
  • Shyamala: Hmmm.. do we have an idea abt the amount of such land.. I guess even chemical agriculture contributes to this?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: What we do here in Kerala where i do practice is , just protecting the area with out any disturbance from cattle or people
  • Shyamala: Can u pls let us know the steps for rejuvenation?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: You are right shyamala. chemical based agriculture also contributed a lot in this issu
  • Guruvayurappan.S: First step. Identify the area and find any wilderness/ vegetation is remaining in the area
  • Guruvayurappan.S: then, plan how much area we take for rejuvenation process
  • Susan Sharma: Do NGOs who do this work need to take permissions from Govt authorities? How difficult are such permissions?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Secondly we will take steps to protect the remaining soil and vegetation by protecting through placing locally available gravels or tree pieces
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Yes. we need to take permission from the concerned authority.. here we take permission from Kerala forest department
  • Guruvayurappan.S: We will invite them for the programs, some times they will provide some minimum support at the level interest of the local forest officers
  • Guruvayurappan.S: We do some such practices Nelliyampathy forests where tourist inflow is high
  • Susan Sharma: How much area is covered in Nelliyampathy?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Some hurdles is placed in the area identified area. in nelliyampathy first we selected 50 cents of land
  • Guruvayurappan.S: where a little bit of shrubs is present.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: But we selected a larger area where tourists directly take entry through the vegetation
  • Guruvayurappan.S: we made obstacles to the tourist entry
  • Guruvayurappan.S: by using locally available rock pieces, which was remaining waste after construction of water tank in the naturally perennial waterhole!
  • Susan Sharma: How long do you keep the area covered with gravel/tree branches?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: It is at the top of the remaining rock
  • Guruvayurappan.S: That will continue for a quite long time may be for at least one year
  • Susan Sharma: The water hole was also revived by you?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: then we will expand the area by using the same materials
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Not fully so far.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: in the top nothing happened! but in the downside pit. it is being filled
  • Guruvayurappan.S: in the summer season
  • Guruvayurappan.S: The retention capacity of soil and rock is slowly improving
  • Guruvayurappan.S: the signal is seen
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Our vision is to make the water go upside of the rock. and we are doing work in the downside!
  • Susan Sharma: Please explain how the water can go upside of the rock/
  • Guruvayurappan.S: First the mosses are creeping up.. and then the grass species like a medow..may be because of good rain!
  • Guruvayurappan.S: The principle of Percolation is visualized Practicability is a challenging as it is on a rock, that too on the top of the hill!
  • Guruvayurappan.S: For that A very good amount of soil, and vegetation is essential
  • Guruvayurappan.S: For the time being we have not planted any thing there.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: but planning for that.
  • Susan Sharma: Do you take help from soil scientists or other experts?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: for that, some fecal matters of herbivorous species like sambar, gaur, and omnivorus spececis like sloth bear etc
  • Guruvayurappan.S: So far not consulted with any formal scientists, but with the practical experience in Periyar tiger reserve where i worked as Sociologist (Social Scientist ) in preparing Micro plans for the sustainable development of the village area
  • Susan Sharma: Very good to hear that.
  • Susan Sharma: Once you plant the saplings, how long do they need watering? in general for wild trees
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Villagers have their own idea to protect the natural water holes. But as part of development, from government funds, they clear the swampy area and construct small checkdams using rock and concrete! that has resulted in drought in the area
  • Guruvayurappan.S: We are not watering in natural areas. Because, Healthiest and Fittest plants will survive naturally
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Birds will spread the seeds.. some other species also.
  • Susan Sharma: That means if you plant during monsoon one season of rains will take care of the sapling.
  • Susan Sharma: But in areas which are rain deficient, watering will be required at least for some time , I presume.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: If intervention is required, we can collect seeds from nearby natural vegetation area and can be thrown in our project site!
  • Guruvayurappan.S: You are right susan
  • Guruvayurappan.S: But our care has to be there while it is growing!
  • Susan Sharma: What kind of care?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: no body should be allowed to take not even a single leaf from the plant.. which is also a major factor of the health of the plant
  • Guruvayurappan.S: The responsibility of this can be given to local villagers or Eco-development committees or individuals.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: But in 'Kesavan para' - our site does not have any such committees.. so just leving to the nature. but we keep on going and inspect it
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Planning to place some display board as Protected Area for natural rejuvenation with the support of forest department
  • Susan Sharma: How many people/volunteers work for a micro project?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: We also do some different approach in village degraded area.. like creating contour- bunds to retain the water and soil there itself
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Not doing as a funded project. but out of interest, our team Aashrayam Rural Development Society and nature lovers, we do it
  • Guruvayurappan.S: all are contributing their time and energy for this when ever they intrested
  • Guruvayurappan.S: about 30 members are participating in the program
  • Guruvayurappan.S: No fund is collected from anybody.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Took permission from forest department, asked their presence in the site while we work. that's all.
  • Susan Sharma: You are doing some great work.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: We hope that in about 5 years time a great change can be seen!. because we need to expand the area to about 2-3 acres
  • Susan Sharma: You mentioned something about Govt funded schemes in villages creating drought. Can you explain further.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: to make the water go up to the top of the hill
  • Guruvayurappan.S: In the name of rennovation programs of existing water-holes, vegetation and swamp of the whole area is being taken out!
  • Guruvayurappan.S: That itself is the cause for drought. once the check-dam is built, there will not be water at all!
  • Guruvayurappan.S: I do not mean all government projects are like this.
  • Susan Sharma: thereby blocking natural water passages/ aquefiers as well?
  • Susan Sharma: Shyamala do you have any questions?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Right. and also there will be some activity of small quarrying the rock for making availability of rock pieces!
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Even a single hit of hammer can stop the flow of water from the aquifer!
  • Guruvayurappan.S: The water may go in some other route.. result in drought of that area!
  • Susan Sharma: Thank you very much for the ground level reality checks you provided.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Like wise, the Government program MNREGS
  • Guruvayurappan.S: The villagers are forced to clean such waterholes by preparing special plans to address water scarecity
  • Guruvayurappan.S: resulted in the same damaging result.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Need to be addressed by people like us.
  • Susan Sharma: It might be worthwhile conducting a survey of such failed projects and learning from them!
  • Susan Sharma: On that note, shall we close the chat room?
  • Guruvayurappan.S: We are on the way. Let's consolidate such issues at national level and support them for better results.
  • Susan Sharma: Thank you very much for a very illuminating chat session.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: ok.
  • Guruvayurappan.S: Thanks a lot for providing a very good opportunity
  • Guruvayurappan.S: to have a very good discussion. Wish you a great future Susan and our team.
  • Susan Sharma: As soon as I close the chat room, the transcript will be uploaded . You can share the link with your network. Wish you all the Best and Good night!
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Online Courses on the study of birds - July, 2015
Rewilding degraded Land- practical experiences - June, 2015
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