Kerala Man Turns Barren Land Into Woodland

A nature lover in Kerala’s Madakkimala, nearly 10 km away from Kalpetta town, has turned his one and a half acre of a barren land into a tiny forest by at a variety of trees into it.

Bought nearly 18 years back with 13 trees, the land has given birth to 1,000 odd trees comprising 164 species. In the minuscule forest, the 37 species, planted by P.M. Nandakumar, among them come under Rare, Endangered and Threatened (RET) category.

 Among the trees are 20 varieties of bamboo, 18 varieties of climbers and 14 varieties of medicinal herbs which Nandakumar has planted on his land. In the Nandakumar’s land, there is an exquisite collection of wild orchids too, which are endemic to the Western Ghats.

The collection consists of 73 varieties of epiphytic orchids and 30 varieties of terrestrial orchids. The small arboretum gives its space for high value medicinal plants and altogether 56 different species of plants are maintained. Apart from the regular varieties of plants, there are Rare rhizomes such as ginger (red and black), black turmeric, Kasthoorimanjal and Karimanjal nurtured. As many as 30 varieties of ferns are another cynosure of the woodland.

As Nandakumar has maintained the grace of his tiny forest, he round the year takes utmost care and consideration of the green gold being planted on land where evergreen trees and deciduous trees occupy their own unique space.

Another aspect that makes Nandakumar’s land unique is that every plant is properly documented with its scientific name and common name, hence a visitor can easily understand the details of the plant. This garden embodies the science into practice by a common man who has paid his earnest interest to conserve and protect the dying wealth.

“I learned that nearly one third of flowering plants on earth are on the verge of extinction and the changes in climate and increased anthropomorphic interventions are making the life of plants awful,” says Nandakumar was quoted in a report by a Delhi-based news organisation The Hindu as saying. “This reality inspired me to transform the barren land to a miniature forest,” he said.

“It is high time to act as a conscious citizen to do his part to conserve the nature and its resources,” he added.

The M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) here has provided its support to plant the RET species of trees in the woodland. Commenting on this, Dr. N. Anil Kumar, Senior Director MSSRF said that the personal efforts of a single person lead to the conservation of a large number of species, popularization of conservation science and marked himself a Biodiversity hero.

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