About the Project
The mountainous region of Katra is home to one of the most revered shrines in India. The shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. As the number of visitors to this sacred site has grown, so too has the need for infrastructure to accommodate their needs. Unfortunately, these developments have had a negative impact on the region’s air quality.
To address this issue, the Trees for Shri Mata Vaishno Devi in Katra project was launched to combat air pollution and sequester carbon. The planting of trees in this area is not only limited to mitigating the impact of human activities but also provides a host of benefits to the local communities.
Why trees for this Project?
An article in the Hindustan Times points out that, “every year more than six million pilgrims visit this shrine and to provide accommodation to these devotees, rampant construction has been going on which has, in turn, led to deforestation.” The article also quotes a senior board official that acknowledges the ecological disruption due to the development plans. He says, "See the level of development that has taken place in the area in the last 10 years...For development works, we need to cut mountains and fell a large number of trees - which is bound to disturb the ecological balance in the hilly area."
A study in the International Journal of Advanced Multidisciplinary Research affirms the point that tourism has had a negative impact on the environment - “The Pilgrimage tourism to Katra town constitutes an important component of total tourism in J&K and has contributed significantly to the growth and development of the Katra town. Nevertheless, this increasing no of tourists is directly or indirectly influencing the environment of the town. With regard to the increasing number of tourists thereby the impact on the environment particularly the ambient air quality of the town gets deteriorated by contributing SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide) and NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) in the atmosphere with every year.”
This project entails the planting of a wide variety of trees so that the local communities and environment can benefit from this project in a holistic manner.
The trees planted for their medicinal properties include Khair (Acacia catechu), Bil Patri (Aegle marmelos), Neem (Azardirachta indica), Simbal (Bombax ceiba), Palash (Butea monosperma), Tunnu (Cedrela toona), Gulmohar (Delonix regia), Amla (Emblica officinalis), Safeda (Eucalyptus citrodora), Bohar (Ficus benghalensis), Rumble (Ficus racemosa), Pipal (Ficus religiosa), Kakoa (Flacourtia indica), Drek (Melia azedarach), Bottle brush (Melaluca citrina), White Willow (Salix alba), Reetha (Sapindus mukorossi), White locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia), Harada (Terminalia chebula), Walnut (Juglans regia).
Bahava or Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Raat ki rani (Cestrum noctunum), Loquat (Eriobotya japonica) are planted for their ornamental value.
A few species that are planted for their timber are Chukrasia (Chukrasia tabularis), Shisham (Dalbergia sisoo), Dhaman (Grewia optiva), Silver Oak(Grivillea robusta), Chir /Himalayan longleaf (Pinus roxburghii) , Kembel (Lannea coromandelica), Poplar (Populus deltoides), Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), and Bahera (Terminalia belirica).
Trimbal (Ficus auriculatal), Fagora (Ficus palmate), Litchi (Litchi chinensis), Mango (Magnifera indica), White Mulberry (Morus alba), Guava (Psidium gujava), Pomegranate (Punica granatum), Jamun (Syzgium cumini), Imli (Tamrindus indica), and Ber (Ziziphus jujuba) are planted for their fruit which has high nutritional value.
Making a Difference - The Impact of Your Support
Planting of trees offers numerous benefits that span across multiple aspects.*
The plantation project involves the plantation of a wide variety of local tree species ranging from medicinal plants to ones grown for ornamental purposes. This not only enhances the local biodiversity but also fosters ecotourism in the region which will boost the economy of the local communities in the long run.
Improve Air Quality
Trees clean the air by trapping particle debris on their surfaces and soaking up gaseous pollutants through their leaf stomata.
Our project generates employment opportunities for the local communities 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. The local communities 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.
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.