This super succulent and juicy wild berry found in the Deccan plateau that can never be found in the market. Why? Because it turns sour within 10 minutes of plucking
However traditional wisdom has found two workarounds.
1. Cut it with the branch. Which preserves the berry for about 10 hrs
2. Cover the berry with the leaves of another wild shrubs called janam kaya chettu which gives it about 6hrs
Found in abundance in the Hyderabad collective, the red berries are great indicators of monsoon.
It is a very exciting time when you start seeing your vision in brick and mortar - quite literally!
In collaboration with @biomearchitecture our first shared facility, Blyton bungalow is now standing tall with a roof above its head!
As always, the planning and construction of every structure at beforest is done in consultation with the ecosystem and the natural terrain. Flow of water, light of the sun, wildlife corridor are all key decision factors that went into this project.
We are happy to share this journey and look forward to hosting you all at Poomale soon..
With rains all around, ponds - small and big are popping up wherever they can.
Look closely and you will see the fascinating world within them
The grassy edges and shallow waters support a small but critical ecosystem of algae, fungi, microorganisms, plants and fish. Species that love a bit of sunshine!
With the right abiotic factors like temperature and pH value of water, quality of soil, seasonality - even a small pond could be supporting rich biodiversity
Ponds form the essential corridor between larger water bodies that species need to move freely, making them resilient to changes in climate.
Such is the importance of ponds, that a few years ago, the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems suggested they may have been the breeding ground for first living organisms on Earth!
What do we mean by biodiversity - Animals, insects, fishes, plants and trees living in an intricately linked ecosystem. Everything has its place - swamps, streams, tree roots, wild corridors, wild plants, all equally important.
Why are we so mad about it - For a farm, biodiversity is the very basis of food production. Rich biodiversity, made of indigenous species can make an agricultural land robust, resilient and regenerative, with minimal human intervention. This translates to protection against crop failures, loss of income sources, labour turnover
For this reason we are taking extensive interest in the plant and animal life at beforest collectives. As a first step, teams of leading scientists have been conducting studies to give us a baseline of assets.The study also gives us a list of endemic, rare and endangered species. This is actively followed by actions recommended by the studies to protect and enhance what we have.
The roadmap that emerges from these studies dictates many decisions at the collectives like construction plans, farming strategies, income strategies and even recreational plans for the future.
Do join us for an exciting conversation with Dr.Shekhar Kolipaka, 18th July, Sunday 6:00 PM #linkibio
A farm is as resilient as its biodiversity. Richness of species with interlinked dependencies ensures the ecosystem is stable in the face of a constantly changing environment.
This fundamental factor has guided almost all the decisions taken at beforest collectives.
With the results of a third biodiversity study ready, it is now time to take a look at the impact of our operations at the first beforest collective, Poomale, Coorg.
Come join us in this exciting live conversation with Dr.Shekhar Kolipaka as we deep dive into the observations, interpretations and analysis of several TB of pictures, audio recordings, sound maps collected over the past 2 years!
Register now - LINK IN THE BIO
More on our previous conversations: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLR0RK_vEdZzGMJPDIF5d-vhOqSV1eZJ5P
A beautiful review by a member of the collective..
“We had gone to the collective with a couple of friends interested in buying. The place is just magical right now. With so many native species of plants flowering and hundreds of butterflies of many species coming for the flowers. The rocky area especially is teeming with wild flowers and is a hub of activity. The lake being dug is a great addition to the landscape and will surely transform the space for both wildlife and people living there. We had a good walk and interaction with Chandra Mohan. We were quite impressed with his keenness for observation and his enthusiasm in getting things done. One of our friends who came along is a Botanist and she was in love with the area. We spent a lot of time at the collective... lost sense of time wandering around.”
Monsoon is coming. We have got to make the most of its beauty and abundance.
The topography of each of our collectives is slightly different from the other. Nestled in Western Ghats - Poomale, Coorg and Balur, Chikmagalur collectives enjoy a naturally thick green cover. Mumbai collective is also located on the Western Ghats, but at a much lower elevation.
Hyderabad on the other hand, enjoys a place by the Deccan plateau with an entirely different climate and topography.
Since one monsoon has to sustain the rest of the year, the idea is to slow the flow down over your land, giving the soil a chance to soak up as much as it can. The best possible scenario is to have a healthy combination of grasslands, tall trees, shrubs, rocks, big and small animal life.
SWIPE TO SEE A GLIMPSE OF MONSOON 👆
Clear water in a stream is a simple indication that the topsoil in its path is intact.
While beautiful and bountiful, the monsoon is also a very trying time for a farm. Almost all tasks come to a grinding halt for 3-4 months. Activities like construction, planting, weeding, studies and visits are stalled across locations. For this reason, each year plans are made in blocks of pre and post monsoon.
However, all is not dull. During monsoons each of our collectives are teeming with life. Wildlife goes about undisturbed, green cover is lush and glistening and streams are swelling. Birds, bees and butterflies go about their business fearlessly. Landscapes like Coorg even show many leeches, but when leeches are a sign of pure clean soil, we don't mind them either!
plasticity of behaviour ~
one of the important findings of the research at Poomaale Collective is how well species adjust to human interference as long as it is predictable.
We took great care to restrict our activities to certain hours of the day and our studies indicate that the wildlife is adjusting to it by moving to the natural zones in the east during the human hours and showing up in the economic zones during the non-human hours. However, what is even more interesting is the clear divide that exists between species that can adjust and those that cant. Some animals which are known to be diurnal, have started showing up at night time as well due to increased human activity in the economic zone, where as some others have preferred moving into the natural zones without changing their sense of time.
This underlines the importance of the our decision to leave 50% of the estate as a natural zone. This gives the highly plastic animals the space without interference to cope with and thus continue to be co-habitants.
“Ears can hear further into the forest than eyes can see because not just the spirits, but even the birds and monkeys can hide their forms from you, but never the sound of their breathing. So it is important to keep your eyes open at all times. In fact that's why Kadaval gave lids for our eyes but none for our ears!” - Speaking to an Elephant
The jungle reveals its best secrets to those who go beyond the sense of sight. This is why, we, at beforest, place great importance on expert studies, traditional wisdom and technology to understand the ecosystem around us.
Forests are one of the most resilient ecosystems on earth. For this reason, they are the bedrock of our vision to create regenerative and self sustaining communities. We are exploring traditional wisdom and modern technology in tandem to go beyond superficial understanding of this asset and the life it supports.
Currently underway, is a detailed study by Dr. Noorunnisa Begum of The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology and her team at Poomale, Coorg. This study will help us create a baseline catalogue of plant species that are endemic, medicinal and rare. Close monitoring of the green cover against this baseline will help us quantify the results of our efforts to protect and enhance this ecosystem over the years.
We enrolled the expertise of Conservation scientist Dr.Shekhar Kolipaka and his team to create a similar baseline catalogue of wildlife and birds at our collectives. Local wisdom, scientific expertise and technologies like acoustic monitoring have revealed insights beyond what we have commonly known about wildlife.
Dr.Shekhar’s recommendations are already being implemented at the collectives and as a testimony to our efforts, we have started witnessing a gradual return of large mammals as well as much-needed small insects to their original habitat in and around our first collectives
beforest hopes to strike a fine balance of harmonious co existence between humans, wildlife and forests.
#worldrainforestday #westernghats #coorg #tropicalforests #restorationproject #nature #conservation #naturalcapital #worldheritagesite...
BIG CATS don't belong only in National parks'
Wildlife corridors between protected areas are critical for survival of BIG CATS.
Poomale Collective, with the help of experts is carving out rich safe zones for wild life to co-exist in harmony with human'
Laxmi walked into the poomaale family after endless debates about whether to get into cattle rearing. She looks stunningly beautiful against the postcard skies of poomaale. A few months into the journey, we can only say we are glad we brought her in. She cleans the pathways by grazing out all the undergrowth and her dung enriches the nursery and the veggie beds. The cultural significance a cow holds in an indian household suddenly makes a lot of sense.
Team Beforest pays its respects to Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna, one of India’s earliest environmentalists who raised awareness about the damage done by mega developmental projects on the fragile eco-system of the Himalayas.
He lead the iconic Chipko Movement in the 70s, which inspired people to hug and hold on to trees in an attempt to save them from being cut by forest contractors. One of his biggest contributions to environmentalism was coining the slogan – ‘Ecology is Permanent Economy’.
When the water is this clear after 24 hours of rain, you know the forest is doing a great job of holding the soil together. This is a big win for us considering Kodagu has seen massive erosion issues every monsoon..