In the face of the declining quantity and quality of Rajasthan’s sacred village forests, this initiative aims to combat deforestation through the planting of 100,000 new trees and protection of about a million existing trees in ten groves. This constitutes a considerable stimulus to the ecological regeneration of the forests, contributing to groundwater retention, biodiversity enhancement, improvement of soil quality, increased vegetation cover, and so on. Our primary aim is to achieve sustainability for these forests, but as a means to an end. Ultimately, the revival of these ten orans will mean a significant improvement in the social and economic sustainability of the communities reliant upon them, comprising roughly 8,000 people. In terms of social benefits, this project creates work and education opportunities for scores of people from the target communities. KRAPAVIS works closely with villagers at all stages of the reforestation process. Training is offered such that participants are empowered to further utilise new skills in their own and neighbouring communities. On a different note, the restoration of orans through tree planting and protection contributes to increased pride and solidarity within communities, permitting a re-establishment of traditional institutions and entitlements and the strengthening of customary social bonds of cooperation and reciprocity. In addition to these targets, this project aims to enhance economic sustainability through the increased availability of the following: water and fodder for livestock, in turn providing more milk, meat and/or dung for sale; minor forest produce, such as honey, seeds, nuts and grasses for weaving, all of which can be sold for profit; resources in close proximity to dwellings, reducing ‘costs’ of traveling further a field.
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