Trees for Tribals®
Eastern Districts, Tamil Nadu, India
Available for Adoption upto: 3 Trees
Project PurposeTrees for Rural Communities™
The plantation project is implemented in Viluppuram, Thiruvanamalai,
About the project
The Irula tribe is believed to be one of the earliest inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent, with a history that dates back to prehistoric times. Today, they are recognized as a Scheduled Tribe under the Constitution of India. They rank among the most significant indigenous communities in Tamil Nadu due to their contributions to the area's environment, history, culture, and heritage. Although the Irula tribe is primarily found in the southern region, it is semi-nomadic and established there as a silent and landless group.
The Irula people are renowned for their distinctive culture and customs, especially their language, which belongs to the Dravidian language family. They have a long history of folklore, dancing, and song, and some of their traditional jobs included capturing snakes, harvesting honey, and catching rats.
Since it is now forbidden to capture snakes in India due to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the bulk of this community now works as laborers. Due to their lack of education and limited access to resources, the Irulas are a socioeconomically poor community. Irulas who live in the plains are more vulnerable to weather-related disasters including hurricanes, storms, and droughts.
This project is an initiative to uplift the Irulas through the activity of planting trees.The community members will participate in all plantation processes, providing them with work while also enhancing the region's biodiversity and green cover, which will benefit the Irula tribal group's quality of life.
Why Trees for This Project?
In the article, Reflections on Marginalisation of Tribes in South India, Ritambhara Hebbar mentions “Biodiversity is integral to the livelihood strategies of tribes in south India. Their dependence on forests have contributed to the vast knowledge of the local biodiversity, which is critical to their survival and also of the ecosystem.”
An article by the The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations highlights that “In India it has been observed that wherever there is a large concentration of forest, there is also high concentration of tribal people in particular, and of the rural population in general. Rural people are dependent on forest resources for their livelihoods. For many of them, not only do the resources provide economic sustenance, but the forest is also a way of life socially and culturally. It further highlights how forests cater to the needs of rural and tribal communities in a holistic manner. “It meets basic needs like fuelwood, fodder and small timber that are important for them and their livestock. Degradation and depletion of the forest resources are increasing poverty and suffering among the rural people. Therefore, it is imperative to rehabilitate degraded forest resources in order to sustain rural livelihoods.”
We support the planting of local tree species at our planting sites since they are compatible with the local ecosystem and have a higher likelihood of surviving due to their non-invasive character.
As a part of this project, we have planted Guava (Psidium guajava), Amla (Phyllanthus emblica), Jackfruit (Artocarpus heteroplyllus), Spanish Cherry (Mimusops elengi), Pongame tree (Pongamia pinnata), Indian tulip (Thespesia populnea), Teak (Tectona grandis),Kumzhi/ Gamhar (Gmelina arborea), Neem (Melia dubia), Naval (Syzygium cumini), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica), Africa Tuliptree (Spathodea campanulate), Shower (Cassia fistula) Coral Bean Tree (Adenartheri pavonnia) and Rain Tree (Samanea saman).
Guava, Amla, and Jackfruit can be utilized by the communities for their nutritional value as well as for market sale as a source of income. Neem and Gamhar have been planted for their medicinal properties. The whole Gamhar plant is used in medicine. The roots act as a tonic and laxative, flowers are used in treating leprosy and skin diseases, fruits are edible and also used for promoting hair growth and in treating anemia, and leaves make for good fodder.
Making a Difference - The Impact of your Support
Planting of trees offers numerous benefits that span across multiple aspects.*
For the Irula tribe Our project generates employment opportunities for the Irula tribal group since we are committed to working closely with them at our planting sites. They are involved in preparing the saplings in the nursery, transportation of the saplings, plantation and maintenance.
They can also earn additional income from the plantation produce, in this case, they can supplement their income from timber and fruits once the tree matures.
Employment for Women
Tree plantation activities provide employment for women as many women workers participate in our projects.
Improve Ecosystem and Local Biodiversity
The plantation of trees will help in improving the water table, check topsoil erosion, and increase carbon sequestration potential, thereby creating a healthier environment for biodiversity and communities to flourish. A healthy ecosystem will ensure that this forest-dependent community can fulfill its needs and supplement its income with forest produce and other NTFPs.
By planting trees, we can help regulate the natural water cycle and improve water quality. This will greatly benefit the local communities.
*The environmental benefits of the trees reach their full potential as they mature.