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Planting Trees

Himcon, Uttarakhand South-West

Overview photo series and articles about constructive work
Photos about afforestation

 Planting the saplings.

Deforestation is the biggest problem in rural India today. Because agriculture is completely dependent on a good forests in the neighbourhood. When the forests are cut, the rivers, streams and springs will dry up in the summer time and there only will be water in the monsoon, when you need it least, because it is raining already a lot.
The forests provide grasses, herbs and leaves for fodder for the cattle, which will produce the manure for the fields. In the forests villagers can find other herbs to mix with the dung to make a nice compost for the fields. The forests give the villagers much more: tubers, roots and fruits to eat; medical herbs for good health; fire wood to cook and bamboo and other wood for construction. When there are many forests in the neighbourhood there will be better rains and in summer time it will not be that hot.

So: the best thing to help agriculture and improve village life in general is to plant many new trees and protect the the old trees against the timber mafia. That is what many villages already do. In Orissa for example there are many thousands of village forest protection committees.
Also development organisations help villagers growing saplings in special nurseries, organising work camps to plant small trees and dig small ponds to collect water, and assist villagers to fight against cutting trees by the timber mafia, which is connected with the Forest Department. On another page you will find pictures about Raksha Sutra actions in Uttarakhand, where women put a holy thread on the tree to make it clear the tree is as a brother for her and she will protect him with her life.

 Small oak, just planted.

It is important to plant a nice mixture of all sort of trees the villagers need, and which will grow well in that area. In the first place trees which give a nice humus in the forest, which will be the natural 'sponge' to absorb the monsoon rainwater for the whole year. In the second place: good fodder trees. And trees for fire wood, timber and fruits.
The British cut a lot of teak and oaks to build their navy ships; and deodars for railway sleepers. Than they planted pine trees for turpentine. After independence the Forest Department went on in the same colonial way. They also transformed divers forests in timber mines, for example with only sal trees for construction, or eucalyptus for the paper factories. But the pine needles and eucalyptus leaves don't give good humus, fodder or compost.

Go to the next page: photo series about afforestation
Go to: Overview photo series and articles constructive work

Photos: Himcon, Uttarakhand - Creative Commons