COMMUNITY BASED FORESTRY PROMOTION

COMMUNITY BASED FORESTRY PROMOTION TO IMPACT LIVELIHOOD AND CLIMATE CHANGE.


A project of the People’s Solidarity Association (PSA), Trichirapalli, Tamil Nadu in India.

To facilitate growing of 100.000 extra trees in 20 villages mainly by women and children,  by an educational campaign, by starting tree nurseries. and  by paying monthly 1 rupee per tree for 4 years,  through the microfinance structure of  PSA’s partner Anisha.


This project wants to try out  a new concept (‘tree credits’) to combine existing microfinance structures and other community based activities with climate measures and to work on grass roots empowerment and income from agroforestry. Income generating, water supply and solar PV based power supply will play a more prominent role in the further stages of the project.


Lord Nicholas Stern: “The two defining challenges of our century are climate change and poverty. And if we fail on one, we will fail on the other”. 2009

Ban Ki Moon, UN chief: “Like in Microfinance, women can be agents of climate change too.” December 2, 2009,

“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.” Prof. Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement, Nobel peace price winner


Summary

The People’s Solidarity Association (PSA) is a community development NGO, founded in 1980  by a group of students social activists of St.Joseph’s college, Trichirapalli, with the vision of achieving sustainable livelihood among marginalised people with values of social justice and equity.

In the past, PSA had implemented quite a few major projects such as low-cost house construction for flood victims, ecological agriculture training among dryland farmers ,early childhood education in remote villages and microfinance for the economically active poor women.


Motivating school students and promoting tree planting remains an ongoing activity of PSA. See :http//psatrichy.net/friends –of-trees/

In 2004, PSA promoted a separate organisation by the name Anisha Microfin Association that concentrates on micro-credit and related activities.

PSA is actively interacting in  50 villages around Trichirapalli, Tamilnadu, India.

Regarding legal status ,PSA  is registered as a Society under Tamilnadu Government Society Registration Act.It’s Registration No is:49/1980.

PSA is also authorised to receive Foreign Contribution as it has been registered under Government of India, Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, vide Registration No:07604001.

 

This project as presented here, and links with ongoing activities of PSA, see http://psatrichy.net/friends-of-trees/

These environmental actions were a response to the long felt need among man to ‘green’ the villages by planting trees and to generate more income and resources. In addition, to making a possitive contribution to the biodiversity and global warming.


In May 2011 John Peter (CEO of PSA) and Ferdinand Swart meet for a week in Sri Lanka  to conceive the outlines of the project; both initiators are active in these fields since the 80’s. FS  hatched the  ‘tree-credits’ community forestry concept in 2009 in a attempt to channel carbon credits, due for newly planted trees to the grassroots; and to work through existing microfinance structures in an attempt to minimize the carbon footprint of the operations and to empower women.


The Project

This programme aims to spread awareness about how growing trees could improve the village environment, generating food, income, firewood, fodder and much more, while helping wildlife,  biodiversity, and the global climate as well.

The significance of trees for the world climate debate is clear and well researched. Trees are the most cost effective way to unbind CO2 and to fight global warming (see Nicholas Stern 2009).

Tree planting can have a real impact, locally and even globally, trees attract rain and cool the environment. If we would succeed to double global the tree/forest cover by 2050, most the actual CO2 excess, caused by men, will be absorbed, and this without radically altering our lifestyles or growth prospects (see Petrus Hoff, 2009).


This project targets mainly women and children. Usually they are the ones involved in collecting seeds and saplings, starting tree nursery and growing trees.

The project envisions 1 lakh trees to be planted in 20 villages.

Besides an educational campaign and helping them with setting up of nurseries and finding quality seedlings, we will pay those tending the trees a small amount (Rs1 per tree) each month for 4 years if the trees are maintained well.

Not only all kind woody trees and bamboo, which are planted will qualify, also protecting spontaneous upshots will count for monthly tree credits, since the effect is the same.

Mono culture plantations are not permitted under this scheme. We recommend to make

mixture of species, such as:

• Trees for shade, beauty and holy trees for public spaces

• Food forest: compound with mixed trees providing crops of fruits, nuts, medicinal oils and other products for own use or to be traded

• Trees grown for timber, often as a financial security for their children

Experiments with agroforestry will be supported:

• Quick growing trees and bushes for fodder and firewood

• Nitrogen binding trees planted in singles for inter-cropping and fodder

The preparation of a village tree survey, plan and map by the tree group will be encouraged.

Implementation

This project will be a grass roots initiative; a network of training and communications for individuals and groups (farmers, students, women), which allows them to build on their own internal strengths and develop best practices in tree growing, will be set up.

Since volunteer tree planting campaigns are usual lacking in follow up to protect the young trees, a monthly incentive of Rs.1 for each tree will be paid , for minimum of ten trees and maximum of 200 trees. This to provide some pocket money to the young planter and to promote saving habits. It will be presented as a reward, a fair share in the adult tree’s potential value in cash and carbon credits. Young trees as an investment for the future.

The payment is for 4 years and will be paid monthly into a special savings account (closely linked to the existing Anisha microfinance accounts) which each participant have to open.

All residents from 13 years of age will qualify, as individuals, families or groups (school classes, women groups, etc).

This proposal concerns implementation in 20 villages of in Trichirapalli district of Tamil Nadu state. We estimate to attract and target 50 participants in one village, so 1000 participants in total. This gives  the project some ecomony of scale, we expect 100 trees on an average per account holder per year, so we seek funding for 100.000 (one lakh) trees.


The total implementation and operations are geared in such a way to minimize overheads and keep carbon footprints low (or even negative). We like to link overheads to the amount paid directly to the villagers and so to the number of trees growing.

Because this is a pilot program, more efforts are needed to get things on the rails, overheads (including planting costs and extension services) will be still higher than the 10% target with which we are aiming.


The total amount sought for the complete is InRs 55 lakh (€ 83.300.-) spread over 4 years.

Disbursement: while these incentives are paid over a 4 year time span, overheads and start up costs like training the extension workers, are partly needed upfront. see http://bit.ly/nyMrRw for full disbursement scheme.

An insurance against freak weather disasters, like prolonged drought or fire will be integrated into the scheme. These funds will be used to replant any lost tree  and  provide even more security to the planter.

This insurance and the monthly “tree credits” make tree growing a full blown security, against which micro loans could be given at concessionary rates.

It also guarantees the continuity needed, when applying for carbon credits.

Ways will be explored to make the project self propelling, such as, just by motivating the groups to plant more trees or by establishing a tree fund in which a small percentage of fruits and other forest crops which are sold for cash have to be paid. By year five, when the first fruits can  be harvested, a Rs per tree per month might not be too much to pay back. These (re)payments will be used to plant even more trees.

We plan to develop this village forestry project step-by -step to an higher level of sustainability; to phase the total campaign in three projects to be implemented in separate years, gradually becoming economically more viable; from targeting mainly women and schools, to agroforestry and food forest, while we envision also combining forestry with PV solar power plant to supply power to the grid. Outlines of Part 2 (targeting farmers) and part 3 (income generation from PV solar plants and water management) can be found in App # and #

Considering the novel concept, such as combining climate measures through microfinance, we see enormous growth potential, both in scope as well as in size and spread therefore,  we highly emphasis future evaluation of the scheme and we envision that a consultancy unit might emerge from this evaluation.

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