Auroville was founded in 1968, regeneration of the environment
was the foremost concern of the pioneers, as the site chosen
for the Auroville Township was severely eroded. Today, with
massive wasteland reclamation and the planting of millions of
trees, Auroville has transformed a veritable desert into a lush
green landscape. Auroville's environmental efforts, which have
gained national and international acclaim, now reach out to
over 100 villages in an area of 740 km2.
Auroville's earliest settlers confronted a land that had been
totally ruined over two hundred years of deforestation, bad
land management practices and over-grazing. Undaunted, Aurovilians
set about to restore the barren land. In this first phase of
reforestation, hardy species that could withstand the near-drought
conditions were planted, and live fences were put up to protect
the young trees from foragers. Simultaneously, an integrated
soil and water conservation programme for land regeneration
Within Auroville there are forests and sanctuaries, a seed museum,
seed-exchange networks, a herbarium, and a botanical garden
to conserve the native bio-diversity. Auroville also runs 14
ecological farms and promotes sustainable agriculture in the
current trend in Auroville's reforestation programme within
the township area is to reintroduce the Tropical Dry Evergreen
Forest, the indigenous forest of which only a marginal fringe
the larger bioregion, Auroville's efforts are primarily geared
towards protection of bio-diversity, wasteland reclamation,
integrated watershed management, and promotion and dissemination
of local health traditions.
of bio-diversity. Shakti and Pitchandikulam Bio
Resource Centre have taken active steps to protect 2,500 acres
of remnant patches of the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest in Tamil
Nadu from further deforestation. Species surveys of these forest
patches have been conducted and studied. The Auroville Herbarium
has over 6,000 accessions from different forest types of India.
In the Auroville Botanical Gardens, over 5,000 speciemens of
the the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest have been planted in the
conservation area and 300 species of trees and shrubs have been
planted in the Arboretum.
reclamation. Palmyra offers a consolidated programme
of soil and water conservation, reforestation and wasteland
reclamation. It has restored thousands of hectares of wasteland
in the bioregion.
of water catchment tanks. Water Harvest and Palmyra
promote an integrated watershed management that targets the
rehabilitation of ancient water catchment tanks in the bioregion
and in the Pondicherry area.
Restoration of local health traditions.
Pitchandikulam Bio-Resource Centre works towards establishing
community registers in the local villages to systematically
document the traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and other
bio-resources. Shakti and Pitchandikulam Bio-resource Centre
maintain in-situ herb gardens and medicinal plant demonstration
sites and distribute seedlings from these gardens to over 400
gardens in 30 villages.
The Auroville Centre for Scientific Research (CSR) helps to
conserve water and prevent groundwater pollution by researching
and implementing decentralised waste water treatment systems
suitable for tropical conditions. Applied Research in EM technology.
Auroville has an international reputation for its successful
experimentation and application of Effective Microorganisms
(EM) technology for a variety of environmental uses. AuroAnnam
has developed EM-fermented plant extract (EM-FPE) from locally
available plants for pest management.
and training programmes. Auroville organisations
involved in environmental regeneration offer regular training
programmes and workshops to villagers, NGO development workers,
and government officials.
The Auroville Township Master Plan envisages a green belt of
3,650 acres, comprised of farms and forests that will surround
the city area. As Auroville currently owns only 45% of the designated
township area, and outside development pressures are mounting,
there is an urgent need to acquire and protect the remaining
more wastelands in the bioregion also need to be restored and
to introduce, if possible, using a people's participatory approach,
the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest in village commons.
investment is needed to purchase 50 more acres for the Auroville
Botanical Garden and to develop it. There are already plans
to host therein an Auroville Institute of Botanical and Ecological
Studies to better disseminate Auroville's expertise in environmental
regeneration and afforestation.
a growing network of environmental activities Auroville aspires
to integrate urban development with a green environment and
thus serve as an eco-city model for a sustainable future.