The Annamalai Reforestation Society (ARS) has been actively involved in reforesting the Arunachala Hill in Thiruvannamalai since 1988. The ARS is the earliest society at Thiruvannamalai established with the primary aim of reforesting the sacred Arunachala Hill and the surrounds.
The main objectives of the society:
- To work for the afforestation and conservation of the Arunachala hill
- To create and maintain fire lines on the hill to prevent fires from spreading and to aid in fire fighting
- To generate awareness of our natural environment, its problems of soil erosion, loss of genetic diversity, depletion of water resources etc.
- To encourage participation in the regeneration and protection of animal, bird and plant life on the hill and the surrounding areas
These are achieved through awareness campaigns, educational activities and employment opportunities generated through activities on the hill and the organic farm. ARS is responsible for the regeneration that the forest has undergone over the last quarter century and more.
Over the last 27 years hundreds of thousands of trees have been planted and cared for on the hill. This has resulted in an amazing regeneration of the forest with an ever growing tree cover and return of wild life. There has been a dramatic increase in Avi Fauna, small mammals and deer in the region. A steady stream flows for many months each year from the afforested slopes which recharges many water bodies at the foot hills and in turn helps the residents of the town and the farmers.
- The ARS has maintained a nursery for indigenous varieties of trees which in addition to supplying the trees for planting on the hill have also been distributed to schools, colleges and other institutions.
- The ARS has run an organic farm on an 8 acre land since 1992. The farm has served as a model permaculture farm for many years and provided training for many aspiring organic farmers.
- The ARS has conducted awareness programmes in schools and colleges and conducted training for people in various fields.
- The ARS continues its activities on the hill and the farm. Having ensure a thriving growing forest on the slope behind the ashram, it is now focussing on greening other parts of the hill.