Project: Empowering Himalayan Ecosystem and Livelihoods Through Herbiculture (HEALTH)
Location: Tehri Garhwal District, Uttarakhand
Category: Environment and Income Generation
The Himalayan State of Uttarakhand is home to one of the richest biodiversity and wildlife found in India with 70 percent of the State under forest cover. With the imminent climate crisis and global heating that cause forest fires, recent summers in India have seen forest blaze across all the 13 Districts in Uttarakhand destroy hundreds of hectares of forest cover. This is mainly caused because the Himalayan mountains are covered in Pine trees which are highly combustible. Added to this problem is the myth among local communities who believe setting their grasslands on fire would yield fresh grass every season. All of these environmental concerns pose a fatal threat to human lives, their livestock and livelihoods that depend on these forestlands in addition to depleting the range of wildlife that thrives in these forests.
The three-year project proposed by Sankalp Taru Foundation aims to undertake the following activities in the Tehri Garhwal District of Uttarakhand that has the maximum exposure to forest fires recently:
- Plant up to 6,000 species of native fruit and fodder trees to replace the combustible pine tree:
- By the end of the project, the trees will provide fruits and fodder for the local communities
- The trees will increase water table levels while arresting soil erosion in the mountains and purifying the air
- The entire ecosystem will recover from the depletion caused by years of forest fires
- Raise awareness amongst local farmers and rural communities to preserve their woodlands:
- Farmers will refrain from setting fire to the grasslands reducing the threat of forest fires
- Introduce herbiculture – an herbal/ medicinal plantation program:
- Local farmers have an alternative livelihood and learn a sustainable farming method that requires much less water needed for irrigation
- A total of 90 farmers and their families across seven villages will benefit from this project
- This would create a demonstrable impact that could be scalable up across the State of Uttarakhand and elsewhere with similar environmental concerns
Year 1: 10 farmers are introduced to Herbiculture in one village of Tehri Garhwal District
Year 2: 20 farmers are introduced to Herbiculture across two villages (10 per village)
Year 3: 60 farmers take up Herbiculture across four villages (15 per village).
Document impact and share widely. Research potential scale up plans with new partners and funding organizations.
IDS Coordinator – Madhavi Sakuru Meekcoms
Project Manager – Simar Preet Kaur Mann