Trees for Migratory Birds

Ossudu, Puducherry, India

7,500 Trees Adopted by Geocycle India FY 2019-20

Project Purpose
Trees for Forest & Wildlife

Location
The project involves a plantation of 7,500 local trees in 3 different regions in Puducherry, namely, Oussudu Lake Bird Sanctuary, fringes of the Bahour Lake and Oorani community land.

Aim

  • To improve wetland habitats by planting ecologically valued native tree species
  • To incentivize local communities with increased forest-based activities thorough involvement in project implementation
  • To restore the endemic and endangered flora-fauna, while improving the wildlife habitats with native tree plantation.

Why Trees
Between 2000 and 2012, 2.3 million square kilometres of forests around the world were cut down (The Nature Conservancy, 2015). Deforestation is often cited as one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect and a significant contributor to global warming (Fearnside, Philip M.; Laurance, William F, 2004. "Tropical Deforestation and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions"). The loss of forest cover influences the climate and contributes to a loss of biodiversity. The economic activity is adversely affected by siltation, flooding, soil degradation, and reduced timber supplies which in turn, threatens the livelihood of people. Our plantation partner, Universal EcoFoundation is of the belief that strategic tree planting helps to address escalating climate and geographical disruption by sequestering atmospheric carbon, replenish groundwater and rivers, protect biodiversity and improve their habitat enhancing local livelihoods. Native tree plantation represents one of the simplest and best solutions to the myriad changing climate issues of our present-day planet.

Kaliveli is a seasonal wetland, with a gradient from freshwater to brackish water. The region is home to several rare and endangered floral, faunal and mostly avifaunal species. The wetland is considered of both national and international importance by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  Increased encroachment from an expansion of agricultural fields, depletion of forests from changing land-use patterns, loss of wildlife habitat and fragmentation, rapid soil and increased deforestation are major conservation concerns of the region.

Ossudu lake attracts over 20,000 birds of 40 rare species from all parts of the world every year, and the season is from August to November. Greater Flamingo from Great Rann of Kutch is one of the primary guests of this migratory season. The different species of birds including Spot-Billed Pelicans, Painted Stork, Spoon-Billed Ducks, Whistling Ducks, and Black-Headed Ibis are regular visitors to the place. Birds use the patches of greenery to rest and refuel in the middle of their journey between winter and breeding sites. Within migration, land birds spend up to 90% of their time resting and regaining energy at stopover sites, making habitat a key component for their migration to a particular destination.

According to a study done by Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research with the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Bern, 13 species of birds will be found when no trees are present, whereas 20 species are in place when tree cover increases to 45 percent. The researchers of this study determined that ‘the positive effect of trees outweighs the negative effect of sealed areas and buildings. Therefore, increasing tree cover is a more promising and efficient measure to enhance bird species richness and diversity.

Tree Species
Tree species planted in this region include Indian Oak (Barringtonia acutangula), Babul (Acacia nilotica), Black Plum (Syzygium cumini), Neem (Azadirachta indica), and Amaltas (Cassia fistula)

Social Impact
Plantation of trees will create workdays for the villagers, including tribal women, leading to an increase in awareness and participation in conservation efforts by the locals. The plantation process will promote local tree species which will not only enhance green cover but also aid conservation of biodiversity by providing them with natural habitat and additional sources of food addressing degradation and habitat fragmentation, mainly for the endemic and migratory bird species. There will be increased ecosystem services to the communities in the form of fruit, fodder and non-timber forest produces on the maturity of the planted trees. 7,500 trees are expected to offset about 150,000 kgs of carbon annually on their maturity. Several studies have shown that the planting of trees ensures that the rain droplets sink into the soil controlling surface runoff thus increasing the groundwater table.

Target Completed

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