Pitchandikulam Forest, is in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, S. India, and is the main center. The name Pitchandikulam means “Pitchandi’s Pond” in Tamil, named after a local traditional healer called Pitchandi who practised healing at the pond (kulam) in the heart of our forest many centuries ago.
The History of Pitchandikulam Forest
The Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF) that filled the Auroville Plateau until the 1820s was largely cut down do decrease tigers, make boats and build houses in nearby Pondicherry. When Auroville was founded in 1968, the land was arid, bare save a few scattered palm trees. Peanut and pulse farming had degraded the soil, and the original TDEF woodland only survived in small areas around temple sacred groves.
Restoration involved building water retention landscapes, rebuilding soil using green manures, planting leucaena, gliricidia and eucalyptus for windbreaks and shade, propagating seeds gathered in sacred groves in a tree nursery, creating live fences to protect saplings from goats and cows, and irrigating from a dug well using a bullock cart. The result is the thick, biodiverse, self-regenerating forest we have today.