Trees+ for Himalayan Biodiversity
Nainital, Uttarakhand, India
Available for Adoption upto: 400,000 Trees The project involves the plantation of trees in 17 Van Panchayats of the Nainital district of Uttarakhand.
Project PurposeTrees for the Himalayas
The plantation project is implemented in 17 Van Panchayats (Forest Councils) in the Kumaon region of Nainital district, Uttarakhand.
Control Soil Erosion
About the Project
Uttarakhand is home to India’s oldest forest management system-Van Panchayats. These are powerful bodies of villagers living on forest fringes who are entrusted with the responsibility of managing and protecting forest areas. They are also in charge of safeguarding the region's biodiversity, which includes rare, threatened, and endangered plant species, orchids, medicinal plants, and a variety of other animals and birds.
To support Van Panchayats in the Kumaon hills of Uttarakhand, conserve their forests, help them sustainably manage the forest resources, and protect the rich Himalayan biodiversity, we have introduced this project that involves planting of trees and working closely with the communities of the villages of this region.
Why Trees for this Project?
According to WWF, “The conversion of forests for agriculture and exploitation for timber, fodder, and fuelwood threaten the biodiversity in this region. Charcoal production in low-elevation areas and intensive grazing at higher elevations also threaten forests. The need for firewood is not only a burden for nature, but also for people.”
An article on ‘Forests for People, the Planet and Climate’ says that “Forest goods provide an important hidden harvest for rural populations, keeping many people out of extreme poverty. About 350 million people who live within or close to dense forests depend on them for their subsistence and income.” It further adds that “This contribution is greater than that of wage labor, livestock, self-owned businesses or any other category aside from crops.”
We support the planting of local tree species at planting sites since they are compatible with the local ecosystem and have a higher likelihood of surviving due to their non-invasive character.
In this tree plantation initiative, we have included species like Amla (Phyllanthus emblica), Banj (Quercus leucotrichophora), Bakian (Melia azedarach), Bhatula (Desmodium tiliaefolium), Bhimal (Grewia optiva), Majuna (Salix alba), Glaucus oak (Quercus glauca), Purple orchid (Bauhinia purpurea), Kachnar(Bauhinia variegata), Padam (Prunus cerasoides), Mediterranean Hackberry/ kharak (Celtis australis), Ujjain Desmodium/Sandan (Ougeinia dalbergioides), White willow (Salix alba), Ratanjot/ Sakina (Indigofera linifolia), Himalayan mulberry/Shahtoot (Morus serrata), and Indian Horse Chestnut (Aesculus indica).
The trees are planted with the knowledge that the area is home to a diverse range of wildlife and rural communities and that planting trees must provide for their needs in terms of food, shelter, and commercial purposes. For instance, when mature, tree species like Bhatula, Padam, Kachnar, and Purple Orchids are planted because of their vivid colors which draw a variety of birds, animals, and insects, while white willow and majuna are planted because of their therapeutic qualities. Himalayan Mulberry is planted for multifarious purposes-its leaves are used for feeding silkworms, the timber is used for furniture and agriculture implements, and the fruit (also known as shahtoot) is a popular fruit relished by locals and also used for sale to supplement their income.
Making a Difference - The Impact of Your Support
Planting of trees offers numerous benefits that span across multiple aspects.*
Strengthen the Van Panchayat system
The project aims to shift attention back to the Van Panchayats, who have experienced several difficulties and changes over the years. We think that locals have the most intimate knowledge of their forests, and by working closely with them, we hope to create a plantation effort that generates employment for these communities and enhances the local flora and fauna of the area.
With respect to forest-related issues, women are often excluded from the decision-making process. For the purpose of empowering them and reducing their reliance on the Van Panchayat for fodder and other forest products, our projects involve a large number of women working on our plantation sites.
Enhance the Himalayan Biodiversity
The project involves the plantation of local tree species to support the rich flora and fauna of this region by improving the local habitat and other ecosystem services.
Sustainable Management of Forest Resources
The tree plantation initiative involves planting multipurpose native trees, with an emphasis on their numerous socio-environmental benefits.
These trees will fulfill the requirement of fodder, fuel wood, and NTFPs for the local communities residing in the area. Additionally, we frequently engage with local communities to generate awareness about how they can utilize these resources to boost their livelihood and improve the environmental condition of the region.
A mature tree can absorb about 20 kg of CO2 each year. The trees planted in this region will act as a carbon sink thereby playing a great role in our fight against climate change.
*The environmental benefits of the trees reach their full potential as they mature.