Question: Which is the only district in Kerala with no forests?
Once, this used to be the question and answer for the students of Kerala. Not anymore, Alappuzha now has its own forest - at Veeyupuram. And it is a very special forest for those who worked behind it.
When across the state, and other parts of the nation, development is created by destroying forests, in 14 acres, Alapuzha has developed a forest. If you ask the nature lovers of the district about the most prominent development activity in the district, without any hesitation the answer will come, '14 acres of forest in Veeyapuram'.
Notoriety of not having forest in Alapuzha was removed in 2013 when the Government of Kerala declared 14.53 acres in Veeyapuram in Karthikappalli Taluk near the tributaries of the rivers Pampa and Achancoil, as reserve forest. In 2014 the land around the timber depot in Veeyapuram was demarcated and assigned as forest land. This depot has a history of 200 years. Even before the British era, logs were brought from the Western Ghats and preserved here.
Veeyapuram had another advantage. Logs could be brought from the forests to this depot through the rivers as rafts. There was a natural pool separate from the rivers and land around this pool to store the logs. A part of this land now has become the forest.
Though declared as forest, Veeyapuram can't boast of wild animals or dense vegetation. Fauna is limited to a few weasels and squirrels and some birds. Presence of two rivers brings rich aquatic life.
Even though a reserve forest, census of trees is yet to be completed. Officials say that there are many forest trees including teak here. Veeyapuram forest was included in the Ranni territorial division of the Forest department and it was brought under the Ranni DFO.
Timber depot here is now under the Punalur sales division. Water bodies and lush greenery have emerged as location for many films. Depot office of the forest department and an IB for the top forest officials and some quarters are there in this latest forest land.