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Revegetating common lands

Lying in the north eastern limits of Gujarat state, the districts of Panchmahals and Dahod form part of the Central Highlands characterised by rain-fed conditions. The forestlands are the predominant category of land in the region, and the dry deciduous forests once widespread across the area are largely degraded. The area is listed under Schedule V category considering that it has a significant population belonging to Bhil tribes. Almost 80% of the population lives below the poverty line and with limited wage opportunities, migration and indebtedness are very common.

This project involves the planting of 19,000 saplings of indigenous tree species on the common lands in the villages of Kotra, Surpur, Kaliyari and Varasada in the Panchmahal district of Gujarat, so as to fulfil the biomass needs of the local communities, benefiting them with fruit, fodder, fuel and forest produce, and consequently reducing the anthropogenic pressure on adjoining forested areas. The project has been successful in garnering the active support and participation of the local communities who have deepened wells, built check dams and farm bunds, and ensured that newly planted saplings are protected year-round from grazing livestock.

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