HEALING PEOPLE AND EARTH
The Earth Trust works directly with villages and the tribal people of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve helping to reconnect, heal and preserve indigenous knowledge systems and environments. Earth Trust (ET) works in a holistic manner at each level of the rural population; with the farmers, the women & the children, engaging the community as well as working directly with environmental issues. Education plays a vital role and is the keystone of ET’s activities. The programs and projects of Earth Trust are making great strides in their efforts to ensure the health, livelihood and sustainability of these people and of this rich and diverse landscape.
THE NILGIRIS LANDSCAPE
The Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats of South India stretches across the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It is one of the most diverse eco systems in the world, home to hundreds of thousands of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna including the tiger, elephant and Nilgiri Taur. This biosphere is made up of evergreen forest, indigenous shola forests, grasslands, dry deciduous forest, and rainforests.
Nearly 70% of India’s medicinal plants are found in the tropical area of this biosphere. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 80% of people in the world today rely on traditional systems of medicine for their primary health needs.
The Nilgiris region is in great danger due to overpopulation, industrialization, and chemical farming. The indigenous people are losing their sustenance; eroded soil and overpopulation drives others off the land and into the cities and without the proper skills to survive there, many end up in slums.
The Nilgiris districts harbor various tribal groups, the Todas, Kurumbas, Kotas, Irulas & Badagas. Medicinal plants constitute a vast, undocumented and overexploited economic resource. These plants are the principle health care for tribal wellbeing. Habitat degradation due to increased human activities, disorganized trades, loss of regeneration potential in degraded forests has accelerated the current rate of extinction of medicinal flora. Such valuable plants need to be documented carefully and protected.
Earth Trust understands the people’s dependence and connection to this sacred landscape and provides effective solutions and simple interventions for re-establishing the vital natural balance. (Contd in the attachment)
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Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu