Meet M R Hari, the man who grew more than 400-tree forest on a patch of land in Kerala
As a child, Hari grew up surrounded by lush green trees and paddy fields of Kerala. In his ancestral house in Kottayan, he helped his mother grow palm trees in their garden. Often, he listened to the chirping of birds as he played around the trees and often chewed on the medicinal leaves to avoid being sick.
In fact, nobody from his house visited someone else’s house empty-handed. His family members always took a produce of the trees of their garden as a present to other people. This is something you don’t come across any day, do you?
However, as the concrete jungle began to spread around Kerala, the greenery went down a notch but Hari’s love for trees only grew higher. His childhood memories have always been really close to his heart, and most of them included the trees that he grew up with.
To fight for the environment, he joined various social groups during his college days, and after he finished college, he made it his primary focus to grow as much greenery as he can all through his life.
However, he couldn’t keep up with his focus due to life’s challenges, but now after crossing the age of 50, he finally made it his mission to plant as many saplings as he can in this lifetime.
He shared his thoughts with a source, “Finding an atmosphere present in the forest in urban spaces is next to impossible, and my ancestral property is no more. Well-versed with environmental problems, I started planting saplings on my property in Puliyarakonam (13 km from Thiruvananthapuram).”
However, it was quite a task to grow trees in a concrete land that wasn’t prolific enough for a plant’s growth. His attempts failed thrice before he finally succeeded in growing vegetation on his land.
During this time, he also learned about Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki’s innovative method of growing trees ten-times faster than usual. Under Miyawaki method, saplings are planted very close to each other that prevent sun light from reaching the ground and keep the ground moist. It allows the plant to grow vertically, not horizontally.
This method helped Hari grow his surface area 30 times greener than usual. In three cents of his land, he grew 400 saplings which bloomed into various flowers, herbs and fruits. He also has a land of patch ready for rain water harvesting—he has saved around 2 million litres of rain water.
Hari says that it will take about a couple of years for the forest to flourish into its best version, however, the fruits, herbs and flowers are growing at a great speed. There are trees, plants, shrubs, flowers, creepers, herbs growing from what was once an arid patch of land.
Hari has also joined hands with the state government to make a difference in the environment with his knowledge of flourishing patch of lands into dense forests. Hari has also worked on growing similar forests in Peyad, Munnar and Kanakakkunnu Palace Grounds.
Hari has also inspired local people to practice Miyawaki which resulted in 50 people practicing the art. He also suggests people extra 2 s of land when they buy 5-6 cents for building a house. He suggests that if everyone could practice Miyawaki method in their garden, there will be no dearth of vegetation on the planet.
“Carbon footprints can be reduced by using less air conditioning as the house will always remain cool,” informs Hari.
He credits his love of growing forests from his mother who taught him the medicinal, cultural and environmental importance of trees, when he was a little boy.
“I plan to turn this plot into a dense forest. In the next ten years, my forest will be as dense as a 100-year-old one, “says Hari.
Hari’s work is exemplary in every sense of the word, and we wish him nothing but success in his mission!