To reverse the process of land degradation, improve ecosystem integrity services and functions, and improve human livelihoods in the target areas, the Madhya Pradesh government will pool in funds of Rs 512 crore from various departments. It will also seek a grant of $5.76 million (Rs 25.93 crore) through global environment facility (GEF).
Initially, Betul, Chhindwara and Umaria districts have been chosen for the project where activities will soon begin on an area of 900 hectares in each district. The project will also train people of rural areas who are member of ‘Van Samitis’ or village forest committees to promote improvement in livestock breed and high-yield cultivation practices.
“The state government has chalked out a detailed plan in this regard and the target will be achieved through promotion of integrated and sustainable community-based natural resource management activities like bamboo regeneration and fresh plantation. The state budget for 2010-11 has already earmarked a separate fund for plantation of 50 million bamboo plants across the state,” an official said adding, “Rural families will be roped in to regenerate and plant bamboos, each family will be given an incentive of Rs 2,500 per month for working on an area of five hectares. This will pave the way for employment of rural people living near forest areas for another five years.”
The project will also initiate alternate source of employment through 100 forest committees of local people. “These committees will conduct various programmes to produce forest and agri-based products like manufacturing of joss-sticks, handmade papers, production and packing of spices etc., besides development of energy forests on an area of five hectares in each village,” the official said. The idea is to start non timer forest activity by developing alternate source of fire-wood for the rural people to ease pressure on forests. The project also aimed at finding an integrated or holistic solutions, such as the use of biogas slurry and manure for farmland productivity increase and fodder development.