India Khasi Hills
The Khasi Hills in the Indian Meghalaya ecoregion is known as the wettest place on earth and for its unique biodiversity. The villagers are Khasi tribes who have asked WeForest to help them restore their forests. Training, alternative sources of fuel and new farming techniques are key if we want to stop further forest degradation. WeForest is also distributing fuel-efficient cookers to further improve forest and family health.
Restore native forest
Promote economic development
Build livelihood resilience
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Why is intervention needed?
The Khasi people are traditionally a forest-dependent community: using the native cloud forest for shelter, firewood, medicine, food and even for spiritual traditions. 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. However, the area and the communities are now at risk as the forest is being cleared by charcoal production, stone quarrying and animal grazing.
WeForest partners with eleven indigenous governments and 75 Khasi villages to restore the forests, using methods like assisted natural regeneration (ANR) and enrichment planting. The local communities play a key role in the restoration: they manage the tree nurseries, perform the required thinning, weeding, establish the natural fire lines and delimit the no-go zones to protect the forest from animal grazing and human interference.
Through supporting self-help groups and farmer´s clubs, WeForest empowers them to tackle poverty, unsustainable forest exploitation and to take ownership in restoring their forests. It is done through training and financial support for ecotourism initiatives, animal husbandry, tree nurseries and subsidies for fuel efficient cooking stoves to encourage a reduction in fuelwood consumption. Direct employment opportunities are created for regional community facilitators, forestry managers, accountants, project assistants etc. The Khasi are one of the world’s few matrilineal societies so women are well represented in the project.