Trees for Biodiversity

Theni, Tamil Nadu, India

Available for Adoption: 15,000 Trees

Project Purpose 
Trees for Biodiversity

Location
Plantation of local tree saplings adjoining the Manjalar dam in Devathanapatti forest division, Theni district, Tamil Nadu, India.

Aim

  • To regenerate degraded forests in the area.
  • To improve the tree cover and reduce the effects of soil erosion and run-off of water.
  • To provide empowerment to tribal communities along with fruits, fodder and non-timber forest produce.
  • To protect and improve the habitat of the wildlife prominent in the region. The dominant fauna found in the area includes Leopards, Malabar Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Grey Giant Squirrel among others.
  • To improve the living standards of its inhabitants by incorporating sustainable livelihood opportunities for the tribal community.

Why trees?
“Sedimentation and siltation of reservoirs is a matter of vital concern in all water bodies” (Compendium of silting of reservoirs in India, April 2015). Optimal management of water resources is the prime necessity of our time, owing to the growing population and development. To check surface runoff and sediment flow to water bodies, plantation of the right tree species can be an efficient solution, enhancing biodiversity habitats and the forest products that can be utilised by locals. Vegetation and plant debris slow surface runoff, preventing sediment and sediment-bound contaminants from entering surface water. Once in the soil, contaminants can be immobilized and transformed by soil microbes or taken up by vegetation. Groundwater flowing through the root zone is also filtered by these processes. Additionally, trees can trap windblown dust before it enters stream and lakes’ (United States Department of Agriculture). Thus, the plantation of right local tree species along the catchment of the Manjalar helps in improving the water quality with a check on reservoir siltation with enhanced carbon sequestration potential.

Tree Species
The selected region is predominantly defined with the Tropical Dry Evergreen vegetation. Local tree species like Karanj (Millettia pinnata), Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Vijayasar (Pterocarpus marsupium), and Jamun (Syzygium cumini) have been selected for the plantation at identified sites.

Social Impact
Plantation of valued tree trees among the identified sites will enhance the biodiversity of the region. Local livelihoods are mostly dependent on forest resources such as fruit, fodder, gum, honey, biomass, fuelwood, etc. The local economy comprising of families living below the poverty line will improve over time. The selected area is inhabited mostly by the Palaiyar community. They are traditional nomadic hunter-gatherers, honey hunters, and foragers. The Palaiyar community livelihood subsists on trades of forest products, food cultivation, and beekeeping. Some work intermittently as wage labourers, mostly on plantations. (Culture and lifestyle of Paliyan tribes, Social Research Journal, K Shenbaham). Locals show a high dependency on forest resources. They collect Jamun, amla, neem, tamarind, wild-honey, and fish.

Coconut, maize, paddy, sugarcane, and mango are major cash crops in the region. Increasing incidences of crop depredation from wild animals like wild boar, monkey, bison, deer cause major damages to this sensitive local economy. Additionally, implementing the project would be able to create about 1,500 rural workdays, supplementing to sensitive local economy reaching out to nearly 200 households mainly living below the poverty line. The project would also create awareness and involve the community directly in conservation action taking sustainable developmental pathways.

Name of the Company Number of Trees FY
Larsen & Toubro Infotech 7,500 2018-19

 

  • 22,500
  • 7,500
  • 15,000

Audit for Manjalar, Tamil Nadu

Total saplings planted in Theni were 7,500 in 2018-19. A different type of seeds for planting were collected from the forest and used for nursery. Saplings were selected according to the ecological conditions and observing the success ratio of the local species surviving there. Plantation of endemic species, weeding and seeding apart from allowing natural regeneration are the methods adopted for restoration of degraded areas. These efforts have ensured the success ratio to be 81%

The planting has been carried out as per the plan and the number of saplings physically verified agrees with the number of saplings planted (as per the report of Grow-Trees partner). We are of the opinion that looking to the steps taken by Grow-Trees partner, i.e., location of the site, encouragement to planting and positive response from the village to grow, nurture and monitor the planting, the result of the activity will be affirmative.

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