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Trees for Indian Giant Flying Squirrels

Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan, India

Available for Adoption: 25,000 Trees

Project Purpose
Trees for Forests & Wildlife

Location

Plantation of trees in the community lands of the villages of Kalyanpura, Basera, Jamli, Samplipathar, Borankheda Kundal ganava, Kaliyakund, Surajpura, Kataro ki bhi, Khadiyavani, Belari, Kherot, and Kerwas at the fringes of Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, India.

Aim

Enhancement of

Biodiversity

Groundwater

Recharge

Increase in

Green Cover

Generation of

Rural Employment

Control Soil Erosion

Why Trees?
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, owed to the loss of trees, which has made locomotion difficult for the species and has resulted in the loss of shelter, thus, making them vulnerable to poaching. The plantation at the periphery will provide livelihood opportunities to the people, further preventing them from venturing into the forest and protecting the animals and their habitats. The Food and Agricultural Organisation also mentions the importance of Non-Timber Forest Products in the subsistence livelihoods practised by the local forest communities.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, some Indian Giant Flying Squirrels of tropical India and south-eastern Asia weigh 1 to 2.5 kg (2.2 to 5.5 pounds) and have a body length of about 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches) and a tail 35 to 64 cm long. Although these rodents do not fly, they glide up to 450 meters (almost 1,500 feet). The Indian Giant Flying Squirrel is a mammal that lives in tree cavities and tree canopies. The IUCN in 2008 described its population as "decreasing"; scientists have advocated planting trees to protect the species. Habitat loss and degradation resulting from logging, shifting cultivation, expansion of human settlements, and forest fires are considered to be threats for the survival of this species. We have, therefore, initiated this project for planting in areas adjacent to the Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary, which has a population of such squirrels.
According to B.K.Sharma's Faunal Heritage of Rajasthan, India (2013), “Elliot’s Giant Flying Squirrel has been recorded from dense forests of Phulwari, Sitamata, and Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuaries and avoids agricultural fields, grasslands, and human settlements. It is the next giant rodent after Porcupine in the state which was initially believed to be confined to Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary. Protection of old Mahuwa (Madhuca indica) groves and planting of new Mahuwa trees in the distribution range of flying squirrel and awareness programs in tribal zones have been suggested to protect this species.”
Their diet consists mainly of, but not limited to, fruits and leaves of ficus trees. They do not eat insects, but besides leaves and fruits, they also eat bark and flowers, making them extremely dependent on forest resources for their dietary needs. Since more light at the edge of forest results in more leaves, feeding is more common at the edge of a forest. The flying squirrels are found to be selective in their diet in Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary consuming 13 plant species and 8 plant parts in their summer diets. Mahua trees are the primary source of their feeding and have been planted as a part of this tree plantation initiative

Social Impact
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 93,000 trees to be planted will create approximately 7,600 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.

Adoption Summary:

Name of the Company Number of Trees Adopted Fiscal Year
HDFC Bank Ltd 20,000 2020-21
DCB Bank 13,000 2019-20
Pepsico 10,000 2018-19
DHL Group 25,000 2017-18
Tree Species
  • Ber
    Common Name
    Ber

    Botanical Name
    Ziziphus mauritiana Lam.
  • Neem
    Common Name
    Neem

    Botanical Name
    Azadirachta indica
  • Amla
    Common Name
    Amla or Indian Gooseberry

    Botanical Name
    Emblica officinalis
  • Karanj
    Common Name
    Karanj

    Botanical Name
    Pongamia pinnata
  • Siris
    Common Name
    Siris

    Botanical Name
    Albizia Lebbeck
  • Baheda
    Common Name
    Baheda

    Botanical Name
    Terminalia bellirica
  • Bamboo
    Common Name
    Bamboo

    Botanical Name
    Bambusa vulgaris
  • Khair
    Common Name
    Khair

    Botanical Name
    Acacia catechu
  • Indian Elm
    Common Name
    Indian Elm

    Botanical Name
    Holoptelea integrifolia
  • Kanji
    Common Name
    Kanji

    Botanical Name
    Acacia spp.
  • Sitaphal
    Common Name
    Sitaphal

    Botanical Name
    Annona reticulata


Planters

Audit for Rajasthan, India

INDEPENDENT AUDIT
Rajasthan, India

Excerpt

A total of 13,000 saplings were planted in Joda Mahuda, Belari, Thada, and Bakhat Pura villages of Rajasthan during 2019-20. Saplings are selected according to the ecological condition and observing the success ratio of the local species surviving there. The team has been taking up activities such as planting of endemic species, weeding, and seeding apart from allowing natural regeneration towards restoration process. The focus of Grow-Trees Planting Partner is to promote robust village institutions that can effectively address the degradation and low productivity of land. Grow-Trees planting partner, in few areas, has adopted the strategy of extra plantation, wherein extra saplings help to maintain the survival ratio of the local species that are planted. The success ratio of the plantation activity is 94.6%.

The planting has been carried out as per the plan and the approximate number of saplings physically verified is in agreement with the number of saplings planted (as per the report of Grow-Trees planting partner). We are of the opinion that looking to the steps taken by Grow-Trees planting partner, i.e., location of the site, encouragement to planting and positive response from the village to save the planting, the result of the activity will be affirmative.

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