Espace Forest was started in 2002-2003 by Island Lescure, with the help and guidance of the Auroville Forest Group. I was then helped by a colleague who also managed it while I was away for a few years and now I am back and he has gone. I am now joined by another colleague.
Initially, the southern part had been reforested many years before and the northern part was newly acquired cashew plantations with very few trees. It was originally 3.7 acres in size. We set about fencing the land to protect it from grazers (who would otherwise eat the seedlings) and planting thousands of trees.
Acreage: 10 Steward: Island
2020: Espace is now larger and more diverse:
It is now around 10 acres with over 100 species of trees, shrubs and lianas. Regarding animals, we have sambar deer, spotted deer, porcupines, jackals, mongooses, jungle cats, civet cats and a myriad of birds, reptiles and insects.
Further elaboration of the area:
We now have a management plan following the guidelines found in “AV forests long term management and stewardship criteria”.
Main occupations in Espace are:
- Keep both overhead electric lines clear of vegetation (Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry) (317 metres)
- Keep paths clear
- Keep an eye on trees that may fall near accessways and buildings. Remove if necessary
- Be familiar with AV Forests Long Term Management and Stewardship Criteria document
- Be familiar with management plan of Espace
- Adhere to or evolve management plan of Espace
- Maintain fence-line both in terms of fence integrity and vegetation growing along into neighbouring land (1255 metres)
- Maintain good relations with neighbours
- Discourage the neighbour’s dogs from coming into area
- Select and obtain seedlings in planting season
- Dig and plant in the planting season
- Remove opportunistic creepers that negatively affect growth of trees
- Harvest dead wood and sell it
- Harvest cashews in the season and sell or convert to in-kind income
- Investigate when it sounds like someone may be encroaching upon managed land (poachers, wood thieves, JCB work)
- Communicate with Land Board for disputes, fencing and potential land acquisition