Trees for Rural Communities, Harsul, Yavatmal
Trees for Rural Communities
The project is being implemented in Harsul village of Digras Block in Yavatmal District in east-central part of the state Maharashtra.
The project area is characterized by arid desert, tropical rainforest and also montane range, the varied climate, and topography has resulted in diverse floral and faunal presence. The main tree species found in the area are Acacia arabica (Babul), Acacia leucophleca (Hiwar), Zizyphus jujuba (Bor), Butea monosperna (Palas), and Belanites rexburghii (Hinganbet) etc. These forests are full of Euphorbia and Cassia scrub.
The project involves plantation of 40,000 valued native trees with a major portion comprising of Bamboo (Dendrocalamus spp.) and Drumstick tree (Moringa spp.) along with other local tree species with high ecological significance in improving ecosystem services, fruits and fodder, check soil erosion, increase carbon sequestration potential among others.
Bamboo (Dendrocalamus spp.)
Bamboo is a fast-growing species having an average height of 20-30mtr. Bamboo grows best with a fertile, moist soil. Plantation of Bamboo will function as carbon sinks, provide organic matter, regulate water levels in watersheds. Bamboo is a sustainable resource because it’s vegetation spreads which allows the formation of forests much faster compared to other tree species. Moreover, a bamboo plantation in and around crop fields creates bio-fence which is helpful in tackling human-wildlife conflict. Unlike other types of commercial forestry crops where trees must be clear-cut and replanted, in bamboo plantations only mature stems are harvested while younger stems are left untouched to mature and develop.
Drumstick (Moringa spp.)
Drumstick is a drought resistant, fast growing, multi-purpose and one of the most useful tree due to its medicinal and nutritional properties in the world and therefore described as a ‘miracle tree’. Drumstick tree is useful for nutritional benefits, medicinal properties, environmental conservation, and consumption and is the perennial, multipurpose. It has a wide and significant range of uses as water purification, human consumption, medicine, fuelwood, dye, soil and water conservation, livestock forage and green manure. Drumstick tree is also called a Never Die plant because of its adaptability to weather, soil and other environmental vagaries and the heavy flushes produced by the trees even during the dry season act as a good sink for atmospheric carbon. Therefore, Drumstick can also be seen as a Climate Smart agricultural crop with significant socio-environmental benefits.
The major fauna of the region includes Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjak), Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Golden Jackal (Canis aureus), Indian Leopard (Panthera pardus), etc.
Sustainable resource management is a major global challenge today with finite resources, thus ever increasing energy demand with the growing population the relevance of land use planning is obvious. The land has limited carrying capacity beyond which there will be degradation and loss of productivity due to excessive use. In order to meet the various demands of the growing population, the land degrading trend needs to be addressed. Emphasis to be given to the problem of rural communities, especially those below the poverty line in whose hands this resource has to be efficiently utilized and whose minimum needs the efficient use of such resources is meant to serve. Thus the plantation of right native tree species can be an effective way to address this socio-environmental challenge by reclaiming wasteland and degraded lands into forests. Locals dependency on the forest resources can be checked with improved forest produces and fruiting and fodder species for livestock and other minor forest produces. Improved wildlife habitat with fruiting and fodder species will have significance in addressing Human-wildlife conflict mostly in terms of crop depredation contributing to safeguarding the sensitive rural economy. Moreover, plantation of 40,000 native trees will help in improving water table, check top-soil erosion, increase carbon sequestration potential, generate local employment with household level participation in implementing and monitoring of the project and improving ecosystem services. On maturity of forests of 40,000 trees is expected to absorb a minimum of 800,000 kgs of atmospheric Carbon.