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Grow 30,000 trees to restore India's cloud forest

by WeForest
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Grow 30,000 trees to restore India's cloud forest
Grow 30,000 trees to restore India's cloud forest
Grow 30,000 trees to restore India's cloud forest
Grow 30,000 trees to restore India's cloud forest
Grow 30,000 trees to restore India's cloud forest
Grow 30,000 trees to restore India's cloud forest
Grow 30,000 trees to restore India's cloud forest
Grow 30,000 trees to restore India's cloud forest
Grow 30,000 trees to restore India's cloud forest

The Khasi Hills project is an inclusive project and actively engages women and youth, two groups who risk being left out.

Economic power isn’t political power

As the Khasi is one of the world’s few matrilineal societies, women have the economic power and are in charge of resources and money. However, political power is solely for men which is why this project encourages women to participate in local parliament meetings. As such, participating villages have a team of community volunteers of which one-third of the members has to be female.

Annual training

Women are not the only population group that is actively engaged. Local youth can attend annual training sessions for which they receive a per diem compensation. All training focuses on restoration and subjects range from the collection of rainfall data to silviculture to plot monitoring and silviculture.

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the Wild Himalayan Pear
the Wild Himalayan Pear

The native species of Soh Shur (Pyrus pashia), or the Wild Himalayan pear, grows on a tall, thorny, open-headed tree, up to 10 meters tall, with hard, dark brown to black bark. The wild trees generally live for about 20 years and their white-colored flowers have 1-7 cm-long petals with oval-shaped fruit.

Not only is the Wild Himalayan pear smaller and more brownish of color than cultivated pear varieties, it actually tastes quite sour. It is therefore that in northeastern India they are used to make pickles. Lately, they are becoming more popular to use as a rootstock to graft other tree varieties.

In the past, Soh Shur was found in abundance in the forests, but the introduction of grafting techniques means that this tree has become overexploited for use as a rootstock in grafting more productive, commercial fruit varieties.

With overharvesting of young trees for this purpose, the wild pears have become rarer, and there are fewer trees reaching maturity for fruit production and reproductive purposes. If the Soh Shur is lost, transformed products made from the fruit, such as the locally made pickles, will be lost as well.

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Sacred Forest India
Sacred Forest India

For many indigenous communities in the world, forests are much more than just trees: they store souls and spirits and are of great cultural and religious value. In India there are over 100.000 of these sacred forests, mostly existing of forest fragments in agricultural landscapes, where community members are actively involved in their protection and management, providing important refuges for conservation of biological diversity, including medicinal plants.

Sacred groves

In the WeForest project in the Khasi Hills, the local Khasi tribes have been preserving this forest for thousands of years, and believe it belongs to the local deity Labasa, who protects this forest and their community from anything bad happening to them. It is therefore entirely forbidden to hunt, cut trees or take anything from out of the forest.

WeForest, with your support, helps members of self-help groups and farmer’s clubs in the Khasi Hills with activities such as training and financial support to pursue ecotourism initiatives, animal husbandry, food establishments and tree nurseries. This way we are restoring forests, protecting valuable cultural practices and providing additional income sources for the Khasi tribes.

Read more about our project in India here.

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Tambor Lyngdoh
Tambor Lyngdoh

For many indigenous communities in the world, forests are much more than just trees: they store souls and spirits and are of great cultural and religious value. In India there are over 100.000 of these sacred forests, mostly existing of forest fragments in agricultural landscapes, where community members are actively involved in their protection and management, providing important refuges for conservation of biological diversity, including medicinal plants.

A great example is our project in the Khasi Hills, where the Lyngdoh clan has been responsible for the guardianship of this sacred grove for centuries. They believe the forest belongs to the local deity Labasa, who protects this forest and their community from anything bad happening to them. It is therefore entirely forbidden to hunt, cut trees or take anything from out of the forest.

Tambor Lyngdoh, who is head of the federation and project partner to WeForest, feels proud of his role. "Traditionally, our ancestors preserved the forest, because the forest gave our people everything. But in recent times, we started to take only from the forest and stopped taking care of it. But now it is time to restore the balance".

Read more about how we work with Sacred Groves in India in this story.

And last but not least: thanks a million for your support! 

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Bamboo crafting saves trees
Bamboo crafting saves trees

At WeForest we are not only planting trees, we also work together with the local communities to look for alternative livelihood activities to bring the communities away from forest harming activities such as mining, excessive grazing and vegetation clearance for agriculture.

One such example is the bamboo crafting project in the Ri-Bhoi district. In this area, both the climatic conditions and the availability of bamboo make that bamboo crafting has become a main livelihood activity. The indigenous people of Meghalaya make different handicrafts out of bamboo such as stools, bags and house decorations, which are an attraction for tourists and locals alike.

In September, we organised a two day training with 20 participants, with the objective to increase the skills of bamboo crafting to create additional livelihood opportunities. Some participants, such as Bah Teibor, a youth volunteer of the project, participated for the second time in the training and were able to reinforce their skills.

The fact that people voluntarily participate multiple times in the trainings shows the success and that this skill indeed pays off, literally.

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Organization Information

WeForest

Location: Brussels - Belgium
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WeForest_org
Project Leader:
Louise Tideman
Overijse, Belgium
$39,058 raised of $40,000 goal
 
571 donations
$942 to go
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