A Green Fund Initiative
SBI Foundation’s Tree Plantation Project, in partnership with Seva Mandir, is in line with our vision of making the Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 a reality for all. Sustainable Development Goal #15 is to “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”.
To support India’s pledge of increasing the forest cover, SBI Foundation, under its Green Fund initiatives, has come forward with its Reforestation Campaign to protect the biodiversity, mitigate climate change and reclaim local ecology.
SBI Foundation is planting 10,000 saplings of indigenous nature over the course of three years through its NGO partner, Seva Mandir in the degraded wastelands of Rajasthan. It is envisioned that this plantation drive has a potential to create a carbon-sink hole of capacity of around 10, 000 tons per annum. The Project, currently underway in the rural areas of Udaipur district of Rajasthan, will help arrest the threats of worsening scenario of land desertification.
The 10,000 native species of plants are going to be planted through community participation in common lands around the outskirts of Udaipur district in Rajasthan. Udaipur district is located in a hilly and semi-arid region of western India plagued by prolonged droughts and erratic weather patterns leaving them extremely susceptible to soil erosion and low water retention. Unavailability of resources has resulted in overexploitation of denuded lands.
The selected pastures developed are located in hamlets of Pindoliya village of Girwa block and Khedaghati village in Khewara block of Udaipur district. Both these villages have active and strong village community groups to facilitate effective community participation and ensure optimum usage of development fund.
1.2.Implementation Partner: Seva Mandir, Rajasthan
Seva Mandir was established in 1968 to service the development of the rural and tribal communities of Udaipur district in southern Rajasthan. For the last 50 years, the organisation has worked towards equipping the rural, predominantly tribal, citizens of Udaipur district with the skills and capacities that would enable them to become active agents of their own development. Major areas of work include integrated development of communities by making self-sustainable communities through focus on women’s empowerment, child health & development, providing education, ensuring clean drinking water and sanitation facilities and enhancing livelihoods through natural resource development in the rural and tribal communities of southern Rajasthan.
2.1.Socio-Environmental Impact: The key interventions and impact areas addressed through this project are listed below:
a. Reclamation of Biodiversity at Local Level: With over 60% of land vulnerable to desertification in Rajasthan, plantation of endemic species will be conducive to conservation and gradual reclamation of around 50-70 hectares of degraded common land.
b. Soil and Water conservation: Plantation of trees will contribute to soil stabilisation, cleaner water and the recharge of groundwater which serves as the only source of drinking supply for the water scarce villages of Rajasthan.
c. Mitigating Climate Change: Plantation of 10,000 saplings will create a carbon sink-hole of capacity of 10,000 tons of CO2 per annum and shall effectively contribute towards lowering down atmospheric carbon dioxide.
d. Augmenting livelihood opportunities: The project is designed to be inclusive and sensitive to the needs of holding hands with our rural communities. Equitable and sustainable harvesting of NTFPs/MFP (minor forest produce) would directly benefit 500 tribal households dependent on forest produces for their livelihoods.
e. Conserving Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Traditional Ecological knowledge refers to evolving knowledge acquired by indigenous and local people over hundreds or thousands of years through direct contact with the environment. The project would aim to harness the community’s traditional knowledge to boost the growth and management of natural resources.
2.2. Tree Species
The project involves planting of indigenous water retaining and medicinal species such as Amaltas, Aonla, Aritha, Baans, Baheda, Bilb, Churel, Desi babool, Hawan, Imli, Jamun, Karanj, Karonda, Katkarnaj, Kher, Khirni, Kikar, Mahuwa, Neem, Shikakai, Others – Agri-horti species.
3. Site photographs