On World Environment Day, SCB reports a significant afforestation and community project is progressing in Uttarakhand, India. Tree-planting commenced in May under the SCB-financed endeavour, to plant four million trees in the Himalayan region. The project is expected to remove over 360,000 tons of CO² from the atmosphere, bolster local biodiversity, and secure local jobs and livelihoods.

Prior to the planting stage, comprehensive outreach activities were put in place to guarantee the project’s success and sustainability. Stakeholder consultations are integral to the project, fostering understanding and support among local communities.

A recent local stakeholder consultation titled “Expanding the Green Cover through Afforestation in the Himalayan Region in Uttarakhand through Community – Leading Towards Ownership and Sustainability” was held in Jalna Neel village. The meeting served as a platform to demonstrate SCB’s commitment to non-invasive practices and nurturing local community leaders’ roles.

SCB CEO Kevin McGeeney attended the meeting, addressing locals with words of encouragement:

We hope to help your project grow roots through the local community leaders, and we are proud to be here with you today to share the flourishing of this project.” Consultations are a requirement for Verra registration. The event attracted more than 50 participants, demonstrating a keen interest in the initiative.

Villagers are educated about the environmental benefits of broadleaf trees such as oak as well as rhododendron, whose leaves are used for making tea and juice. These trees not only survive better but also provide nourishment for forest-dwelling animals, contributing to overall ecosystem health.

Indigenous tree species such as oak (l) and willow (r) maintain local biodiversity.

Local communities are encouraged to guard the trees, with a stipend provided as an incentive. This forms part of a larger social contract where the project seeks to keep residents in rural areas rather than moving to cities in search of income.

The extensive tree-planting currently underway coincides with the monsoon season running from July to September. It is estimated that 100 nurseries will be required for this extensive project to provide tree saplings.

The task of identifying and mapping out approximately 200,000 plots covering 100,000km was an important precursor to the tree planting, with plots mapped and cross-checked by the GIS team. The team employs smartphones and GIS instruments for accurate measurements.

Inviting communities to reconnect with their forests, this project reinforces an enduring bond with nature and underscores the critical role of forests in sustaining life and well-being.

For more information about SCB’s tree planting project in Northeast India, visit here.