Jayakumar, R., R.C. Pandalai and K.K.N. Nair
In an attempt to restore populations of some of the more exploited plant species, and also to preserve the indigenous knowledge and lifestyle, an internationally funded project worked with local indigenous groups between 1996 and 2000 to restore oonjal (Albizia amara), pulivaka (Albizia odoratissima), venga (Pterocarpus marsupium), puli (Tamarindus indica), and neermaruthu (Terminalia arjuna). These five species were selected by forest inhabitants because the plants are heavily exploited, mainly as firewood. With the participation of local indigenous groups, seedlings were planted in three pit types: namely conventional square pits and experimental ring and saucer pits. Seedling survival results showed that the seedlings planted in the non-conventional ring and saucer pits fared better than those planted in conventional square pits. This paper describes the ethnobotanical aspects of the ecosystem and efforts to develop a participatory project to restore the forest’s natural capital, to sustain indigenous knowledge, and to evaluate different pit planting types.