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Trees for Leopards®

Nainital District, Uttarakhand, India

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Project Purpose
Trees for Forests™ & Wildlife

Plant Now Location

The project involves the plantation of trees in the Van Panchayats of Okhalkanda, Rambagh and Dhari Block in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. 

Aim

Enhancement of

Biodiversity

Carbon Sequestration

Providing Fodder

for Livestock

Generation of

Rural Employment

Improvement of

Wildlife Habitats

Why Trees

 

Among the big cats, the leopard stands out as the most resilient.[1] However, even these formidable creatures haven’t been able to escape the negative effects of human interference such as deforestation, habitat loss and persecution. In a study on human-wildlife conflict in the Jim Corbett buffer zone, researchers pointed out that, “The temporal dynamics of the landscape pattern in the region reveals that the natural wildlife habitat areas (comprises of forest land, shrubs land, cropland, horticultural land and barren land) have been badly affected by a high rate of urbanization. Subsequently, 25% of natural-wildlife habitat has been changed into anthropogenic landscape (settlements and associated socio-economic infrastructural development).”[2]

 

Sandeep Sharma, a visiting scholar at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute studying leopards and tigers, said, “These habitats and corridors in India are threatened by infrastructural developments and need to be conserved if we want to save these species for future generations.”[3]

 

For ambush creatures such as leopards, the role of forest cover cannot be undermined. In the journal, Ecological Indicators, a study has shown that forest cover can impact the presence of leopards. The study also highlighted that, “reduction in forest cover could reduce wild prey populations, or increase chances of them foraying into farmlands to forage on cultivated crops.”[4] This scenario has already created an undesirable situation for both leopards and humans. 

 

In response to the increase in leopard attacks in Nainital District, Okhalkhanda block, we have designed the Trees for Leopards® project. The primary mission of this tree plantation project is to expand the green cover of the area, creating a space for the leopards and other wildlife to thrive, thereby reducing instances of encounters with humans. Moreover, the project seeks to empower local communities through sustainable ecotourism and responsible forest utlisation. This holistic approach supports a healthy ecosystem and facilitates a harmonious ecosystem.

 

Tree Species

 

The trees selected for the project offer various benefits to both leopards and the local communities. For the leopards, the increase in vegetation will attract prey; this is likely to keep the leopards away from human settlements. Additionally, planting trees will also enable local communities to augment their income through the utilization of forest produce.

 

Among the trees, Banj (Quercus leucotricophora) is particularly valuable for fuelwood, while Bhimal (Grevia optiva) serves as an excellent source of fodder and firewood. Additionally, the Deodar (Cedrus deodara) tree offers essential timber and the Indian Soapberry (Sapindus Mukorossi) yields soapnuts, a significant forest resource. The Khasru Oak (Quercus semecarpifolia) contributes to dry season fodder, durable timber and firewood while the Dwarf Bamboo (Chimnobabusa falcata) serves as yet another valuable forest product.

 

Social Impact

 

Our large-scale tree plantation brings about a twofold advantage, benefitting both leopards and the communities in the forest area. On the ecological front, our Trees for Leopards® project contributes to creating a healthier environment and preserving crucial habitats for leopards and other wildlife. Moreover, our tree plantations focus on collaborating with local communities to create a lasting impact. We initiate the process by conducting community sensitisation programs to shed light on the significance of nurturing the tree plantations.

 

At a social level, our initiative leads to meaningful, equitable employment generation for the local communities. The availability of jobs within their vicinity reduces the need for long-distance travel. As an organization, we embrace an inclusive approach - we actively provide employment opportunities for women workers, fostering women’s empowerment in the process.

 

Through this initiative, we not only put environmental conservation at the forefront but also empower the communities living in this region, thereby creating a harmonious environment between humans and wildlife.

 

Adoption Summary

Name of the Company Number of Trees Planted Fiscal Year
WHAT NEXT EVENT SOLUTIONS PRIVATE LIMITED 10,000 2023-24
 

[2] Rawat, P. K., Pant, B., Pant, K. K., & Pant, P. (2022). Geospatial analysis of alarmingly increasing human-wildlife conflicts in Jim Corbett National Park’s Ramnagar buffer zone: Ecological and socioeconomic perspectives. International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks, 10(3), 337–350.

[3] Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute & Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. (2016, June 21). New Genetics Research On Leopards And Tigers In India Underscores Importance Of Protecting Forest Corridors. Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

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