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Trees for Rivers, Narmada, Hardha, Madhya Pradesh, India

40,000 Trees Adopted by Merck 2018

Project Purpose 
Trees for Rivers, Harda, Madhya Pradesh
The plantation of 90,000 native tree saplings would be implemented in the Harda district covering village ranges adjoining to banks of the Narmada and its tributaries mainly Ajnal, Sukhni, Bakud and Ganjal rivers in Madhya Pradesh, India.

  • To restore degraded lands into forests with the plantation of native trees
  • To enhance forest produces, biodiversity habitat with improved fruits, fodder and flowers with the plantation
  • To enhance carbon sequestration potential improving soil infiltration capacity and limit soil erosion with the plantation.

Why Trees?
Soil erosion has long-term impacts as it causes loss of fertile topsoil and reduces the productive capacity of the land and thereby creates a risk to global food security (Patil et al. 2014). It is estimated that in India about 5334 million tonnes of soil is being detached annually due to various reasons (Narayan and Babu, 1983).
The selected area falls within the Central Narmada Valley Agro Climatic Zone (NARP) which forms a significant catchment for Narmada river system. Irrigated agroforestry is a primary livelihood of the locals since the last couple of decades. The area exposed to monsoon and Narmada dam-lock floods hampering sensitive local economy and environment. The soil type primarily characterised with deep medium black-soil which is considered vulnerable to top-soil erosion. Canopy cover has a significant influence on erosion. Vegetation not only reduces the raindrop’s capability to detach soil particles but also retard velocity of flowing water and significantly affects the erosion process (S K Sharma et al. 2016). Thus, the plantation near to the bank of Narmada watershed and tributaries would help to restore degraded land, increase carbon sequestration potential, improve soil infiltration capacity and limit soil erosion, soil moisture conservation, increase plant water uptake and reduce surface runoff, improve wildlife habitat and forest products in the area.
The identified area defined with tropical dry forest type.  The dominant flora includes teak (Tectona grandis) mixed with other species like saja (Terminalia tomentosa), bija (Pterocarpus marsupium), haldu (Haldina cordifolia). Bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus) is also abundant in the area.Teak (Tectona grandis) and bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus ) have been selected for plantation considering the high ecological and economic values.


Tiger, panther, sambar, chital, gaur are the dominant fauna of the region.
Social Impact
Plantation of native trees along the riverbanks could be the most effective restoration project enhancing the overall ecological health and ecosystem services.
The trees planted will help reduce the risk of flooding, act as a security for the farmers’ crops, help conserve the soil and help to rejuvenate water table of the banks. Trees planted to provide shade, clean the soil and filter the water percolating through it by absorbing chemicals and other pollutants.
Carbon management in forest plantation is the single most important agenda of our time in the context of the greenhouse gas effect and mitigation of climate change effects. Teak has the highest capacity for carbon sequestration among trees in India. Teak in its lifetime with a girth of 10-30cms can absorb 3.70 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (Mohnish Pichhode and Kumar Nikhil, 2017). Moreover, because of its limited canopy closure and straight stump, physical conditions for intercropping agroforestry can be moderated. Teak has a relatively longer life cycle, even after its maturity when it diminishes power to sequester carbon dioxide, locals would be benefited by using the teak timber locking its carbon content instead of releasing back into the atmosphere.

Similarly, Bamboo is known to be one of the fastest growing plants in the world, with a growth rate ranging from 30-100 cms per day in the growing season. The fast-growing character of bamboo makes it a perfect solution for alleviating many environmental and social crisis including consequences of tropical deforestation. Bamboo can form a tightly woven mat of roots and rhizomes underground, which are effective in holding soil to strengthen agroforestry ground (Guillermo Tardio et al. 2017). The bamboo forest ecosystem is an integral part of the forest ecosystem and a prime source of carbon sink on earth. Bamboo can supplement in promoting alternatives livelihood option regarding Bamboo-crafts to the two major tribal groups the Gond and Korku in the range. Additionally, as the bamboo grows in clumps, it creates a natural fence to control crop raiding by wild animals into the crop fields.

Adoption Summary

Name of the Company Number of Trees Adopted Year

SBI Life Insurance

50,000 trees FY 2016-17