The Forest in Sep 2014
Of the six acres we have at Aanandaa, we had planted a forest in four acres. Most people would ask us what the commercial plan of planting a forest was. But we went with our instinct, as well as followed the permaculture way of having a forest where we could learn from nature, rather than force our ideas on it. It also acts as a buffer zone where wild life can find a home, and it keeps them away from your cultivated areas. It gives a high amount of oxygen and offsets the carbon footprint of the farm. I think, the biggest luxury in the world is to have a forest to oneself.
For the first two to three years, the forest took up reasonable effort, trying to save the trees from neelgai and wild boar attacks, protecting them from termite, and keeping them watered, fertilized and mulched. Doing this for a 1000+ trees is indeed a full time job!
Now as we walk through our forest, see the trees reaching for the sky, look at all the bio diversity of bees, birds, butterflies, rodents that live in this eco system, we feel blessed. We had planted about a 100 different species of trees and each has given back to the eco system something unique - either a huge canopy, or beautiful flowers, or home to some birds.
Here are some pictures from 2014 - some fast growing trees like shisham, bakain, kadamb have shot up and must be about 20-25 feet high. Others are growing slowly and steadily. We still don't have a closed canopy, but I am sure that day is just a few years away.