Trees for Forests and Wildlife
Plantation of 10,000 in the community lands of the villages of Samplipathar and Borankheda, Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan.
With changing land use and developmental activities, biodiversity in the low-lying areas faces a genuine threat. Habitat degradation, fragmentation, encroachment, anthropogenic pressure and occasional poaching are major issues of the area. Poaching and habitat loss have been mentioned as the prime threats to the Giant Squirrel, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is due to the habitat fragmentation due to loss of trees, that has made locomotion difficult for the species and resulted in the loss shelter, thus making them vulnerable to poaching. The plantation at the periphery will provide livelihood opportunities to the people preventing them from venturing into the forest and protect the animals and their habitats. The Food and Agricultural Organisation mentions the importance of Non-Timber Forest Products in the subsistence livelihoods practised by the local forest communities.
Trees like mahua (Madhuca longifolia), teak (Tectona grandis), dhao(Dracontomelon dao), bamboo(Bambusa vulgaris), ber(Ziziphus mauritiana), sadad(Terminalia arjuna) grow here in addition to the Ground Orchids(Spathoglottis plicata) which form a distinct species of the region.
The popular mammal species is the Indian giant flying squirrel and animal species at this location include chausingha, chital, nilgai, jungle cat, jackal, leopard, fox, hyena.
The bird species found here include the red turtle dove, parakeet, golden oriole, paradise flycatcher, blue-cheeked bee-eater, white-necked stork, red-vented bulbul, grey heron, white-breasted kingfisher.
The arboreal and nocturnal species, listed in the IUCN Red list has been marked under concerned species and their conservation is important to conserve the diverse fauna of the country that contributes to the gene pool. The trees will provide proper habitat to the species, like food, shelter and the means of locomotion thereby helping in their conservation.
Creating rural jobs, in remote areas where jobs are rare, in the nursery, planting and post-planting activity, amongst the tribal people, especially women. The 10,000 trees to be planted will create approximately 818 workdays of jobs in the nursery and planting activities alone. This will prevent the community to indulge in activities like poaching. Also, the involvement of the community during the plantation process will make them aware about the importance of conservation of the natural habitat of the area. These trees will provide flowers, fruit, fodder and fuel to rural communities and living creatures, improve water catchment, generate oxygen, reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, fight climate change and benefit the Indian Giant Flying Squirrel, a species decreasing in numbers.