Trees for Tribals
Plantation of 25,000 ecologically valued native trees will be implemented on community lands across 5 village ranges viz. Sandhkarmari, Aanwarabhata, Jaitgiri, Badalawand and Kakalgur within administrative district Bastar, Chhattisgarh, India.
• To secure employment for rural communities and encourage grassroots level natural resource management and restore deforested and degraded land by ecologically valued native species of trees and enhance biodiversity
• To promote sustainable and equitable land use methods
• To encourage local participation in sustainable development pathways, natural resource management, and nature-based tourism
Forests play an important role in the lives of indigenous communities. The population in the area primarily consists of tribals, whose mainstay consist of agriculture and collection of forest products. Due to widespread poverty and lack of opportunities adds to the underdeveloped state of the area as reported by the District Administration of the State. The situation is worsened by the chronic soil erosion due to heavy rainfall, loss of trees and negligence, mentions a study by Ravinder Singh et al. titled “Soils of Chhattisgarh: Characteristics and Water Management Options”. A study by New Zealand tells us how different types of plantation protects against different soil problems. This shows that tree plantation is mandatory in order to bring under control the problems of the area and improve the conditions of the tribal community.
The vegetation of the area is predominantly tropical-dry deciduous. The diverse undulating topography forms an ideal habitat for wildlife typical to the central Indian landscape.
The vegetation of the area is dominant with teak (Tectona grandis), lendia (Lagerstroemia parviflora), salai(Boswellia serrata), mahua(Madhuca longifolia), tendu(Diospyros melanoxylon), semal(Bombax ceiba), haldu(Haldina cordiflolia), ber(Ziziphus mauritiana), jamun(Syzigium cumini) along with bamboos(Bambusa vulgaris). The species selected for plantation include- Terminalia, Syzigium , Schleichera , Madhuca, Semicarpus, Bahunia, Maniltoa, Cleistanthus, Bambusa, among others
The endangered Wild Buffalo and Hill Myna are the state animal and the state bird for Chhattisgarh respectively. The region is home to several iconic species which includes Elephants, Sloth Bears, Wild Boars, Striped Hyenas, Wild Dogs, and Jackals.
According to PRADAN, an NGO that works toward improving livelihood capabilities of rural families in the state, agriculture is a major source of income for the rural households in Chhattisgarh and income from agriculture is supplemented by income from wage labour, forest produce and livestock. Forests are a source of food, fuelwood, medicine, material for housing implements and construction and livelihood security through the collection, sale and use of non-timber forest produce. The plantation of valued native trees will aid forest-dependent communities in the region toward building a sustainable rural economy. The plantation of trees will also help secure and enhance wildlife habitat by providing additional food within the forests for herbivores/ omnivores limiting their movements within the forests range which will reduce crop degradation and incidents of human-wildlife conflict, strengthening a sensitive agriculture-based local economy.
Trees have carbon sequestration capacity which will aid climate change mitigation in the long term. 25,000 trees are expected to absorb an average of 5,00,000 kgs of atmospheric carbon annually on maturity. Additionally, the extended afforestation project would complement the National Mission for Green India by enabling local level action which aims at protecting and restoring degraded forest land and engaging local communities in key roles for planning, decision making, implementation and monitoring