Several thousand saplings are planted in every district each year. However, only one percent of these saplings become trees.

To provide technical expertise and increase the survival rate of saplings, several environment enthusiasts from the four southern states got together at Kinathukidavu near Coimbatore on Saturday for the Southern India tree planter's meet. They also set up an urban forest in a 400sqft area in a school and demonstrated the Miyawaki method of growing plants.

Kerala's Guruvayuraappan's method of creating garbage enzymes, Bandipur's Nagendran's technique of setting up one feet wide trench around saplings to help them survive on barren land, Puducherry's Saravanan's technique of creating a biodiversity education centre on 100 acre barren land, Tamil Nadu's Vincent's technique of creating urban forests - all these and more were discussed by over 50 enthusiasts at the meet.

"Just by using household garbage, jiggery and water enzyme can be prepared at home that would be a growth booster for kitchen garden and also help in fighting climate change," said Guruvayurappan. His eight year-old son Sriji Aadhithya demonstrated the process of creating the enzyme.

S Bharathidasan, who has been active in vulture conservation, coordinated the meet. He said, "There are many enthusiasts across the country and there is so much to learn in terms of best practices. So we decided to hold this meet and invite several environmentalists to share their success stories. We want all the youngsters and NGOs to learn these cost-effective and eco-friendly methods so that they could be implemented on a larger scale," he said.

D Saravanan has set up a 100 acre forest on a barren land near Auroville in Puducherry. "We also conduct several workshops and awareness programmes and want others to follow suit and set up forests in available land," he said.

The enthusiasts also passed some resolutions that they would try to implement in their respective states. "We have decided that we would ensure every village panchayat has 30% green cover and empty space would also be provided for birds and other bio-diversity. Also, all village panchayats would be asked to maintain a bio-diversity register. In all the sapling plantation drives, the enthusiasts vowed to use only native species and also decided to promote palm saplings," said Bharathidasan.

The members decided to meet again in January to discuss measures to save wildlife deaths and to find solutions for man-animal conflict.

Source: December 11, 2016, The Times of India