The sacred Arunachala Hill in Tamil Nadu, India was once covered in forests that supported tigers and other wildlife. Years of wood-cutting and man-made fires left only pockets of stunted trees. Now that's all changed, thanks to The Forest Way.
The sacred Arunachala Hill in Tamil Nadu rises alone from the surrounding plains to a height of 860m. It was once covered in forests that supported tigers and other wildlife as ancient Tamil poems attest. But years of wood-cutting and man-made fires left only pockets of stunted trees.
In 1988, restoration of the forest on and at the base of Arunachala hill began with a grassroots movement. Since its inception, the project has provided employment for local people from surrounding villages who are otherwise severely economically disadvantaged. At all times, about 30 families are supported through full-time employment in seed collection and tree propagation in the nursery, planting trees in the monsoon season, and fire regime management after each monsoon season.
Initial support came from Australian based Rainforest Information Centre and that has continued to this day. Then in 2020 we provided additional support to The Forest Way Trust, a local non-profit organisation, who are continuing the work to restore Arunachala Hill.
In the nursery at the foot of Arunachala Hill, they grow trees and shrubs native to this region. These are planted by the team on the slopes of the hill, with follow-up care to increase survival rates. Flammable grasses were removed to reduce the risk of fires.
With our financial support, The Forest Way planted 6,655 trees and shrubs in 2022 and 2023. The trees established through this project are native species to this site. More than 70 indigenous species were established.
Thank you to our donors who chose to support this project.
The reforestation work on Arunachala hill is an unfolding success story. An impressive 1,500,000 trees have been established since 1988, supporting a variety of forest types and providing habitat for many plant and animal species.
Arunachala hill in the 1970s
Arunachala hill today