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Volunteers transform barren land into lush forest

Going the Japanese way

The Government High School, Hennagara, before and (right) after adopting the Japanese technique of Miyawaki.

A barren land in the city has been transformed into a thriving forest. Thanks to the efforts of over 500 volunteers, including school students, teachers, professionals and members of a city-based environmental organisation.

The volunteers came together to plant over 5,500 saplings in 1,800 square metres of barren land surrounding a government school last year.

The students of the government school in Hennagara, Jigani, joined hands with Say Trees, a non-profit environmental organisation formed by a group of software engineers.

They planted saplings of neem, jamun, banyan, guava, bamboo and peepal among a host of others at the school’s premises.

Speaking to DH, Shashank Sharma, the project coordinator of Say Trees, said: “Last year, we planted 5,500 saplings using the Japanese technique of Miyawaki. Today they have grown into 10 feet tall trees.”

The volunteers have also helped transform areas surrounding various government schools in the city into forests.

“As of now, we have planted 12,000 Miyawaki saplings in seven government schools, including government high schools in Hennagara, Athimugam, Nerigum, Devsanapalli and three other government schools in and around the city,” Sharma said.

Explaining about the Japanese technique, Sharma added: “The Miyawaki method of afforestation/planting saplings involves planting a number of different types of saplings close together in a small pit. This will enrich the green cover and reinforce the richness of the land.”

The volunteers have planted close to 2.85 lakh trees so far in the past few years.

Apart from schools, the volunteers have also planted saplings around lakes and national parks.

They have successfully transformed barren land in Kyasanahalli Lake and Vabasandra Lake into mini forests. They recently planted 14,000 Miyawaki saplings at IIRDM College, Hejjala.

Native saplings

Emphasising the benefit of Miyawaki technique, Sharma said it was the need of the hour as cities were losing their green cover to urbanisation and pollution at a rapid pace. The technique helps you get 10 times faster growth. The plants grow 30 times denser and are completely organic, free of pesticides. The planting is done using native saplings and requires maintenance of just two years.

The forest thus created provides fruits, helps reduce carbon footprint and also helps in recharging groundwater, Sharma said and added that the technique, when used in schools, will also educate children the importance of forests.

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