Trees for Rural Communities and Ecological Restoration
The project supports the plantation of 25,000 native saplings in the community land, particularly in forest areas of the villages of Soda, Baidalapuram, Renuguda, Laxmanguda, Gulimisingiguda, Karadasingi guda, Kommalaguda, chintaguda, Burjaguda, Puthikaguda, Chaparaiguda, Peddasunnapuram, Mamidypalli villages of Srikakulam district, Pathapatnam block of Palakonda revenue division of Srikakulam district in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.
Trees provide locally accessible and appropriate nutrients to the community, thus forming an essential strategy to eliminate hunger (Pinstrup-Andersen, 2009). They deliver ecosystem services for crop production, provide better and more nutritionally-balanced diets and greater control over food inputs the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) mentions in its Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition A Global Assessment Report. Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) has identified Ecosystem Restoration as one of its 19 priority thematic areas. This includes an ecological inclusive approach to developmental procedures. The Society for Ecological Restoration says that development is incomplete without the inclusion of the ecology and promotion of sustainable development. Plantation of mixed species balance the nutrient content of the soil, increase the nitrogen-fixing capability of the soil, produce root exudates that advantage another, protect from pests and disease etc. Also, the provision of NTFPs, form an important source of income for the community.
Some of the most common tree species found in the natural forest area are Saal (Shorea robusta), amaltas (Cassia fistula), Terminalia tomentosa, Wrightia tinctorial, Indain rosewood, and Pterocarpus. The tree species planned to be planted include fruit yielding tree species such as Jeedi (Semecarpus anacardium), jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), amla (Emblica officinalis), Neradu/Jamun (Syzygium cumini), and nimma/lime and fuelwood and timber species such as Acacia, Billa (Albizia lebbeck), Gumpena (Lannea coromandelica), thangadi (Cassia alata), and gummadi (Gmelina arborea).
Some of the wild animals seen in the region are leopard, hyena, wolf, sambar, spotted deer or chital, while wild goat, bears. Amongst the birds, the peafowl, Peacock, Jungle fowl, Pigeon, parrot, Myna partridges, goose doves etc., are common.
The project intends to provide local employment opportunities to the local population, particularly tribals and women. The restoration activities of the plantation area including the plantation work, weeding and hoeing of the saplings planted will provide an additional source of income to the local people. The project will also improve the access of local communities to the collection of fuelwood and minor forest produces, thereby contribute to improving their household income. The NTFPs from the forest will provide both income and food to the rural communities. The communities living at the periphery of the forests are heavily dependent on the forest for most of their needs, which includes food security. The planted trees being mixed species and many of them producing fruits will cater to this need of the community.
The increased vegetation in the region will help not just in controlling soil erosion but improve moisture conservation, add organic humus to the soil and enhance water table in the region. The plantation of mixed species will further enrich the soil nutrients enhancing the agricultural produce.