Botanical Survey of Merveille


We are delighted to have supported the Botanical Survey of Merveille study in Auroville. It is our pleasure to share the study update from N. Balachandran,
Ecology Departmentat the French Institute of Pondicherry.

The two objectives of the study are:

  1. Identifying the plant species, preparing and publishing a photographic flora
  2. Distribution map of endemic and RET species found in Merveille, extending to the Pondicherry Bio-region.

We are delighted to have received this note from N Balachandran. ‘With your kind financial support; constant encouragement from Mr. Prakash Patel and Mdm Lipi Das, Merveille and generous help in the field by Mr. Pradeep are ever remembered.

As per the plan, we are in the third year of floral exploration but the COVID-19 during 2020 between the months of March and September pressured (little) us and slow down our field expedition, not only in MERVE, it’s everywhere too.

As we explained in the previous (last year 2020) meeting Mrs. Uma Maheswari P working in two axes: 1. Compiling all the species found in MERVE and photograph them, 2. For her PhD degree working on Woody plants of Pondicherry region. She has been travelling to all the commune / panchayat of Pondicherry collecting / recording and photographing of all woody plants in and around Pondicherry region. More than 1600 species (including all habits) were recorded from the eco-restored site where as the photos of different plant parts of every species was captured from 850 woody species.

Maintaining spread sheet with list of species, collection details, photographic informations, zone / commune of occurrence(s), and phonological data of every species.

Mentioned the second goal of the project is to prepare the ‘distribution map of endemic and RET species in MERVE’. Well established trees were considered and GPS points taken for the mapping and this will be developed in another three months period in coordination with Mdm Lipi and Mr Pradeep..

Publication is one of major outcome the project, so as the plan of preparing “Wild Flowers of Merve” is ongoing.  The photos were grouped and named. The descriptive and notes part yet to be completed to design the pages (sample photo and description page attached).

Meanwhile during this epidemic crisis Mrs. Uma successfully completed her pre-PhD exam, included research methodology and a special paper on Angiosperm Taxonomy and secured 80 % of marks.’