Bliss Forest is a dense 30 year-old patch of forest that excellently demonstrates the process of Ecological Succession, where the native evergreen canopy is by now dense enough so that pioneer species like the work tree (Acacia auriculiformis) hardly regenerate any longer.
The area started being planted with Tropical Dry Evergreen (TDEF) species in the early 90s. Prior to this the area had an established canopy of Worktree, Eucalyptus and various mixed forest species both native and exotic.
Acreage: 28 Acres | Stewards: Christoph, Elumalai, Manolo
Now the main work is the maintenance of the area: removal of dead work trees, fencing, seasonal tree planting and after-care, removal of thorny bushes, etc.
Many generations of Aurovilian youth helped in the activities of the forest. The youth assist in seasonal planting and occasionally with maintenance work on the land; in this way they learn about the local fauna and flora, and various environmental factors.
A peculiarity of Bliss is its location. As one of the few forested areas on the highest point of the plateau, it plays an important role for water conservation. Two ravines initiate from Bliss Forest; one going into Darkali, the other to Kottakarai. It has a very high soil percolation rate and aquifer recharge potential. Earth-bunds have been created and are maintained to prevent water runoff.
Another peculiarity of the location is that Bliss Forest is situated in the city area; this brings in a major challenge that the stewards have been facing throughout the years. The development of the city does not always take into consideration the ecological sensitivity of the areas, e.g. forested land, water-catchments etc.