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Trees for Elephants®

Singhbum, Jharkhand, India

Available for Adoption upto: 975,000 Trees

Project Purpose
Trees for Rural Communities™

Location

This project involves the plantation of trees in villages situated on the foothills of Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary in East Singbhum, Jharkhand.

Aim

Enhancement of

Biodiversity

Groundwater

Recharge

Increase in

Green Cover

Reduction of

Man-Animal Conflict

Improvement of

Wildlife Habitats

About the Project

 

The Trees for Elephants® project is a vital and urgent undertaking to protect the elephants in the  periphery and foothills of the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, Jharkhand, Central India. Renowned for their immense strength and a source of both fear and love, elephants in Jharkhand today are in a vulnerable position due to the relentless habitat fragmentation, deforestation and degradation of their habitat. As a consequence of this, there has been an increase in human-animal conflict which necessitates our attention and intervention.

 

Since human activities have led to the depletion of their food source, elephants have increasingly resorted to raiding the crop areas of the local communities such as the Santhal and Munda tribes in Jharkhand. Earlier the local communities used to assist in driving away the elephants from the crop areas, however, the villagers are known to adopt aggressive methods that include the use of drums, firecrackers, fireballs, lit torches and even bow and arrows to scare them away.[1]

 

According to the  'Right of Passage' study published by the Wildlife Trust of India in collaboration with Project Elephant and the U.K.- based NGO Elephant Family, “although the area [Central India] supports less than 10% of the elephant population of the country, it accounts for almost 45% of all human deaths due to elephants in India.” The study counts human activities such as mining as one of the most serious threats to the elephant habitats in the Singhbhum area as it has large reserves of hematite iron ore. The method to combat this challenging situation is the “preservation and restoration of linear landscape elements such as corridors.”[2] Corridors are often described as a migratory route that connects wildlife habitats. In her study on elephant migration and habitat-wildlife relationship, Nilanjana Das Chatterjee said, “The movement and migration of animals usually depend on a pattern of resource patches, dynamic flows of energy, nutrients, water and air along with the other factors.”[3]

 

This project serves several purposes for the elephants. Firstly it will allow uninterrupted movement of elephants between the forest patches. Secondly, the trees we are planting in the corridor will help address the nutritional requirements and help provide an adequate water supply for the Asian elephants. Moreover, the trees in the corridor provide shade which assists in thermal regulation that supports their well-being.[4]

 

Tree Species

 

Jharkhand's semi-arid landscape is ideal for tree plantation, with its dry and moist deciduous forests providing a conducive environment for the growth of various plant species.

 

In a research study published in the Journal of Environmental Biology by Kalpana K. Mohapatra, A.K. Patra and D.S. Paramanik on Food and feeding behavior of Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus Linn.) in Kuldiha Wild Life Sanctuary, Odisha, India, consumption of tree species by the Indian elephant was found to be 56% as compared to shrubs (20%), herbs (14%) and climbers (10%).[5] These mega herbivores are known to spend “between 17–19 h/day feeding on more than 100 species of plants”[6] and can consume up to 150 kg of plant material a day.

Elephants have a varied diet but show a preference for fruits especially mango and mahua. In the study by Mohapatra et. al, the elephants “were so fond of mango that often they congregated under mango trees to eat the ripe fruits.” Additionally, “Elephant showed penchant love for the flowers of Madhuca indica (Mahua). During February and March, they parked themselves under the Mahula trees and fed on flowers that fell on the ground.”[7] Other than that, they also feed on a variety of grass, bark and paddy to name a few.

 

When choosing the tree species for our Trees for Elephants® project, we carefully select tree species that align with the elephants' dietary preferences, while also considering the positive effects they can have on local communities. In addition to Mango (Mangifera indica) and Mahua (Madhuca longifolia) trees, we have strategically planted Teak (Tectona grandis) trees as the elephants have a fondness for the bark of these trees. For an abundant supply of leaves we have planted Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo), Semal (Bombax ceiba) and Jamun (Syzygium cumini).

 

Furthermore, to contribute to the green cover of the planting site, we are planting Neem (Azadirachta indica) and Pongame tree/Karanj (Pongamia pinnata). These trees along with Acacia (Acacia auriculiformis) provide a valuable source of fuel wood and fodder for the local villagers which will enhance their livelihoods.

This approach ensures that the elephants have access to a suitable and varied diet while simultaneously supporting the welfare and sustenance of local communities.

 

Social Impact

 

The impact of our planting initiatives goes beyond ecological conservation; it also promotes economic and social development. By involving local communities in the planting activities, we generate equitable employment and provide them an additional source of income from the sustainable use of forest produce. We also encourage the active participation of women, offering them equal opportunities and remuneration, thereby promoting women empowerment.

 

In addition to the economic benefits, tree plantation efforts have important environmental benefits. The trees play a crucial role in recharging groundwater, addressing the water requirements of surrounding communities. Trees also serve as a natural barrier against soil erosion which improves soil quality over time.

Driven by a scientific commitment and a reverence for nature, the Trees for Elephants® project will serve as a haven that will protect, nourish and ensure easier movement of these remarkable beings. At the same time, by addressing various dimensions, such as mitigating the adverse effects of human activities and restoring green cover, our planting initiative will go a long way in fostering coexistence and safeguarding this ecosystem we all share. 

 

Adoption Summary

 

Name of the Company Number of Trees Planted Fiscal Year
Development Corporation Bank 25,000 2023-24
 

[1] Chatterjee, N. D. (2016). Man-Elephant Conflict: A Case Study from Forests in West Bengal, India. Springer International Publishing, 144.

[2] Tiwari et al. (2017). Elephants Corridors in Central India In: Right of Passage: Elephant Corridors of India [2nd Edition]. Menon, V, Tiwari, S K, Ramkumar, K, Kyarong, S, Ganguly, U and Sukumar, R (Eds.). Conservation Reference Series No. 3. WIldlife Trust of India, New Delhi.

[3] Chatterjee, N. D. (2016). Man-Elephant Conflict: A Case Study from Forests in West Bengal, India. Springer International Publishing, 85.

[4] Kinahan, A.A., Pimm, S.L. & Van Aarde, R.J. (2007). Ambient temperature as a determinant of landscape use in the savanna elephant, Loxodonta africana. Journal of Thermal Biology, 32, 47–58.

[5] Mohapatra, K. K., Patra, A. K., & Paramanik, D. S. (2012). Food and feeding behaviour of Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus Linn.) in Kuldiha Wild Life Sanctuary, Odisha, India. Journal of Environmental Biology.

[6] Chatterjee, N. D. (2016). Ecological Biodiversity of Panchet Forest Division and Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary. In Springer Briefs in environmental science. Springer International Publishing.

[7] Mohapatra, K. K., Patra, A. K., & Paramanik, D. S. (2012). Food and feeding behaviour of Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus Linn.) in Kuldiha Wild Life Sanctuary, Odisha, India. Journal of Environmental Biology. http://jeb.co.in/journal_issues/201301_jan13/paper_13.pdf

 

 

 

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