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WeForest Project

Title

India Khasi Hills

Supporting Khasi communities to regenerate their forest
Area restored
1,500 ha
Trees planted
1,249,500

Project Summary

The Khasi Hills are located in what has been described as the wettest place on earth, the Meghalaya ecoregion. The area is rich in biodiversity, home to sacred forests, ancient stone monoliths and Khasi communities. It is also under threat from deforestation and degradation. The project seeks to combat deforestation and restore the area's forests for the benefit of people and nature. Through assisted natural regeneration and sustainable livelihood development, the area's biodiversity and Khasi communities can flourish together. Local communities are empowered through a number of livelihood initiatives to foster entrepreneurship and build livelihood resilience, reducing pressures on the forest. This, coupled with education to change lifestyles and attitudes towards the forest, decreases the extraction of timber for energy and firewood. Distributions of fuel-efficient cookers, with subsidies for the majority, target the 5,000 households in the project area to reduce fuelwood consumption and improve forest and family health. Changes in farming techniques and nutrition are also an essential part of the project activities.

  • Sacred monoliths in the forested hills are of cultural significance to the Khasi people
  • Hill top plot identified for restoration
    Hilltop identified for restoration
  • Women work in their nurseries and sell seedlings at a profit
  • Seedlings growing in one of the nurseries
  • A variety of seedling species are planted
  • Electric rice cookers distributed
    Efficient electric rice cookers are distributed to village members
  • Gasoline hobbs or 'smokeless chulas' demonstration and distribution
    Gas cookers or 'smokeless chulas' demonstratio
  • Monitoring sapling growth using GPS location
  • Taking measurements of restoration plots
  • Planting saplings at the edge of restoration plot

Region

Khasi Hills, Meghalaya State

Project Status

Open

Restoration Approach

Assisted natural regeneration
,
Enrichment planting

Target 2017

416,500 trees

Project Partners

Ka Synjuk Ki Hima Arliang Wah Umiam Mawphlang Welfare Society (KSKHAWUMWS).

Species

Alnus nepalensis, Castanopsis indica, Exbucklandia populnea, Myrica esculenta, Pinus kesiya, Prunus nepalensis, Schima khasiana

Project Goals

Restore native forest
Promote economic development
Build livelihood resilience
Conserve biodiversity

Latest Project News

Why is intervention needed?

The Khasi are traditionally a forest-dependent people, relying on the native cloud forest for shelter, firewood, medicine and food. The Khasi also value their forest for its role in protecting springs and stream beds and conserving wildlife and attach spiritual significance to areas of forest identified as sacred groves. These communities are now at risk as their valuable forest is cleared for charcoal making, stone quarrying and grazing. The Meghalaya state, or "the abode of clouds" in Sanskrit, is of international importance, recognized as one of the wettest places on earth and a biodiversity hotspot.

Ecological restoration

WeForest partners with a federation of 10 indigenous governments and 62 Khasi villages with traditional forest conservation values and management structures. The intervention areas are restored through assisted natural regeneration, which involves enrichment planting, thinning, weeding and the creation of fire lines, by the community members themselves. When enrichment planting is necessary, the seedlings are sourced from local community-based nurseries. To allow the forest to regenerate in isolation from animal grazing and human interference, the project employs 'social fencing', in other words, the agreement of 'no-go' zones. Since the area is rich in plant and animal species the reforestation efforts have implications for biodiversity as well. Indeed, the project reconnects habitat patches via forest corridors. It also has a number of biodiversity, water and soil conservation measures in place.

Livelihood development

The project delivers strategies for the Khasi to tackle poverty and unsustainable forest exploitation and engage directly in forest restoration. WeForest supports members of self-help groups and farmer’s clubs through training and financial support to pursue ecotourism initiatives, animal husbandry, food establishments and tree nurseries. To promote wider community changes, grants are provided to invest in pig and poultry farms to promote a shift in diet away from beef, a more environmentally damaging source of protein. WeForest also subsidizes fuel efficient cooking stoves to encourage a reduction in fuelwood consumption. Individuals engaged directly in forest restoration and awareness raising are also empowered through training and nancial support. These include local working committees, who are tasked with local scale project management, as well as other community members and youth volunteers, in charge of the forestry activities and awareness raising. WeForest also provides direct employment opportunities in the form of regional community facilitators, forestry managers, accountants, assistants etc. The Khasi are one of the world’s few matrilineal societies so women are well represented in the project.

The Benefits of Planting 1 Million Trees in this Project

Ha restored
1,200
,
Tons of CO2 sequestered*
203,962
,
Families engaged
3,500
,
People trained in restoration techniques
1,000
,
People employed
89
,
Community-based nurseries
70
,
Indigenous tree species
46

* Carbon calculation methodology

In East Khasi Hills the total above-ground biomass is estimated to average 169,9 tons of CO2 per hectare over a period of 20 years. This carbon figure is based on on-site measurements in 2014 according to methodology as compliant with REDD+ standards and carbon certified by Plan Vivo (Source: 2015 Plan Vivo Annual Report Khasi Hills Redd+ Project).