Barren land to green paradise!

January 25, 2019
contest: CHANGE in Wood Culture - Environment
$ 4800
Barren land to green paradise! /media/flashcomm?action=mediaview&context=normal&id=50461
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15
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2
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Aveek Bhowmik
India
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A cluster of young trees dotting Auroville in south-India. As a first-time visitor, it was hard to imagine that about 150 years ago, this idyllic paradise, where nature is so gloriously entwined with culture and the arts, was a barren, ochre landscape with a ravine here and a gully there. But it wasn’t always an expanse of parched earth. The Auroville plateau and its surrounding area used to be covered in lush green forest, which was stripped bare for a variety of reasons — trees were felled to keep wild animals at bay; forest land was cleared to build cities and to export timber. Then stepped in the colonial masters, the British, who allocated land parcels to anyone who wished to clear it and take up cultivation for a year. And with the monsoon unleashing its fury, erosion was inevitable. However, when the earliest Aurovillians arrived, their basic needs for water and shade set off a greening process of sorts, as they realized they had to do more than just plant seedlings Mistakes were made and lessons were learnt. By the early 1970s, an afforestation campaign began in earnest. With the help of grants, plantation took place on a large scale. That was followed by a soil and water conservation programme, and over a million trees, across varieties, took birth on the “sterile” soil. As the trees grew and micro-climates formed, the flora and fauna made a comeback, helping in regenerating and transforming Auroville into a healthy eco-system.

Categories: Nature Photography

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