News & Notes 914:Forest Group meeting minutes – Aurodam, 4th of March 2022

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914 icon.jpg   News & Notes 914
19 March 2022


Forest Group meeting minutes – Aurodam, 4th of March 2022



Present: David, Shivaraj, Vinny, Vikram, Fabian, Elumalai, Rita, Manolo, Noe, Eric, Dave (notes), Ancolie (Chairperson), Christoph, Arun, Jean Luc, Ambre, Forest, Yuval, Jaap, Leela, Jonah, Ramani, Alex, Island, Natasha, Kanniyappan, Sandeep, T Saga, D. Segar, Hans, Glenn. (31 people)

Forest Group accounts

Some FG members have been working with members of City Service, FAMC and the auditors to understand and to bring into line the Forest Groups existing accounts system with the present needs of the day. This process is ongoing, but the direction that the FG would remain as a service under the City Service, but with a separate unit set up to handle the wood sales of the group and subsequent GST requirements is being followed. As the process matures more info will be shared and more members offered their help.

Updating Forest maps

As part of a new project, a group of foresters will be visiting each of the forests to update the maps that Jaap made around 20 years ago. Information will include current and future land use; species lists and regeneration rates for indigenous trees etc. The group will start very soon with Udumbu as a pilot project. Volunteers, especially those interested in multimedia documentation are very welcome. Please contact Noe.

Planting needs

A request to work out this coming planting season requirements was made. Stewards should inform Glenn of their planting needs as soon as possible to enable funding and potential project exploration.

explorer.land

Island presented a website called explorer.land which is a global collaboration to map and link forest projects from around the world with each other as well as with donors. The founders have offered the service for use by the Forest Group for free. Several potential options for Auroville forests were discussed.

Apprentices/ Youth Initiatives

Ambre expressed her support for the apprentice maintenance scheme. On the one hand, the scheme has allowed a few younger Aurovilians to explore their options in the forest sector and on the other hand, allowed older foresters to get valuable help.

In a related matter, Glenn announced that Leela with the help of neighboring stewards, will temporarily take over the running of Anusuya and Gaia Forest, and work part-time in the forest while he is TOS. She will request half of Glenn’s allocated city service maintenance – no objections were raised.

Wild boars

Jonah brought up the ongoing issues around controlling wild boars in Auroville. In many forests they have been causing quite a lot of damage and can be quite aggressive. What is the official status of wild boars in Villupuram District? One difficulty seems to be that some boars are genuinely wild, while others are feral.

Fabian will draft a letter for the attention of the DFO (District/ Divisional Forest Officer) for the Working Committee to investigate.

Random tree planting

As a point of information and for future reference, several Barringtonia asiatica saplings were recently planted by the “Festival Group” beside the road between Transition and Revelation. In contrast to the trees planted by Island along the crown road in recent years, the planting of these trees raises several points:

  • These are the wrong species for roadside planting as:
  • They have large, hard, fruit which could cause accidents and damage and;
  • They are not drought tolerant (roadside trees need to be extra tough).
  • They are planted on the wrong place:
  • On the proposed radial RoW and;
  • Several in water drains, so new drains will need to be made to avoid flooding.
  • They were planted at the wrong time with the summer coming.
  • They were planted in the wrong way, without adequate protection against grazing.
  • It is unclear if those providing underground utilities in the area were consulted.
  • It is unlikely if an adequate budget had been set aside for a minimum of three years of after care.

Full support (of National Green Tribunal petitioners)

In recent weeks several posts published on the Auronet aimed to discredit the two Aurovilians who are the main petitioners of the National Green Tribunal case. Both are in fact acting on behalf of a considerable number of Community members who disagree with the controversial clearing of the “RoW” in the Youth Centre / Bliss and Darkali areas in early December 2021.

The members of the Forest Group present at the meeting wish to express their full support for said individuals and the courage they showed in undertaking such a difficult step, even when backed by many Aurovilians. In our understanding it was taken in the conviction that this step is the only way of fast-track stopping an unplanned and as such destructive action with deep repercussions and impact on the Auroville Community.

We all are still hopeful that independent of the outcome of the NGT and eventual appeals, Auroville and all Aurovilians will find ways to communicate within our internal channels and come to the realization that Auroville – The City the Earth Needs – can only be built harmoniously.


Next meeting: April 1st in Hermitage (to be confirmed)


~ Forest Group