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Once an evergreen region, our Konkan is getting degraded rapidly. The depleting green cover is leading to soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and increasingly hot summers. So, as the monsoons arrive, we have decided to plant native trees and also raise them till the green cover is restored. We are now on a mission to restore the degraded habitat. Plant-a-Native is GWT’s habitat restoration project in the Shiravali village near Chiplun.

In the recent times, terms like global warming, species extinction, natural disasters are making headlines. ‘Climate Change’ is emerging as a big concern, globally. Earlier, conveniently ignored as if it was myth, Climate Change is now being acknowledged and addressed as a genuine concern. Policy-makers, corporates, NGOs, citizens … all are putting an effort to bring about a positive change.

To combat Climate Change, one needs to understand the cause of it. To put it in a nutshell, the biggest culprit is uncontrolled carbon emission. Increasing presence of carbon in the atmosphere due to anthropogenic activities is bringing about Climate Change. One of the best solutions to nullify the emission is to do plantation. Trees don’t just sequester carbon, but also prevent emission of carbon from the soil. Hence, plantation is the most sought-after solution to combat Climate Change.

Corporates are willingly supporting plantation projects which directly help them offset their emissions. Citizens readily volunteer in plantation drives. Schools and other organized sectors also participate in such mass plantation drives. But for them, the activity is nothing less than a one-day picnic.

Several volunteer groups, Government and non-government organizations have now initiated massive plantation drives in order to make a massive, visible impact.

However, unfortunately most plantation projects are done randomly without appropriate prior survey and hence, most often, they either are not successful or do more damage to the surrounding biodiversity than good.

Views of GWT on plantation:

  • Plantation, though done with an intention to revive a habitat, is an ‘intervention’ done by humans. And any human intervention in nature should be done with adequate prior study and careful monitoring.
  • Plantation should be done to restore a degraded habitat, which means to plant only as much as to reboot the habitat to its older version. The objective should not be mere plantation; it should be ‘habitat restoration’.
  • Plantation should be done with a holistic approach to restore the habitat; keeping in mind the biotic and abiotic factors surrounding it. Hence, plantation should extend itself to not just ‘habitat restoration’, but also ‘ecosystem restoration’ wherein components like soil, weather, etc. and the surrounding biodiversity all can thrive together.

GWT’s concept for appropriate plantation:

Plant Native species. Why Natives?

  • Native species are fit to survive in that particular area as they are well-suited for that weather and surrounding conditions. Hence, the survival rate of saplings of native species is high.
  • Native species, if dominant in that area, don’t allow the growth of non-native species which are known to reduce the water-holding capacity of soil. Hence a healthy population of native species keeps the soil quality maintained.
  • Native species ensure the survival of other dependent biodiversity which can thrive only on natives.
  • Hence, natives help to maintain the ecological balance in that area.

Plant ‘Local Natives’. What are Local natives and why plant Local natives?

  • There is a variation seen in different parameters of the same species but from different locations. Eg: Time of flowering, fruiting of the same species can vary depending on its location. That is called ‘ecotypes’ of species. The local biodiversity (flora and fauna) is used to these ecotypes and depends on them for its survival. A change in ecotype can disrupt the health of the dependent biodiversity.

Also, an ecotype of a particular area is best suited for that weather, soil, water availability, etc. thus, ensuring its progeny far higher chances of survival.

  • Local natives have higher survival rate than native species procured from other areas.
  • Local natives are more compatible to the local biodiversity and hence, they help it thrive.

Pre-plantation preparation:

  • Procuring saplings: Saplings from the local nursery will be procured for the plantation.
  • Digging pits: The land will be primed up for plantation by digging pits and enriching the soil with manure and vermi-compost. All ground work like digging pits and plantation etc., will be done by labours.
  • Irrigation: Appropriate watering system will be installed to water the plants in the non-monsoon months.

Sapling care:

  • Plantation site will be fenced so as to keep the saplings safe from livestock grazing.
  • The area will have to be cleaned by uprooting weeds, if any.
  • There will be regular monitoring of the plants to look out for any dead saplings or any pest infestation.
  • Maintenance work like watering the plants, adding manure, etc. will also be carried out throughout the year.


Developing a nursery of local native plants:

  • A nursery will be set up which will make and host saplings which will be need for plantation. It will be close to the plantation site.
  • This nursery will make saplings from seeds/branches collected from the same surrounding area.  This will ensure a high rate of survival of saplings. Seed collection will happen throughout the year as the fruiting season varies from species-to-species.
  • The cost of transport of saplings from far-away nurseries will be cut down.
    It will also avoid carbon emission which would have happened due to burning of fuel during the transport.
  • The nursery will provide employment to locals and help them earn a living.

Expected results:

  • Increased green cover.
  • More percolation of water.
  • Positive changes in weather.
  • Positive change in Biodiversity.

Increase in green cover will definitely help in dealing with sudden changes in climate. Habitat restoration in Konkan region will benefit the farmers living in nearby areas. This will also boost eco-tourism which will benefit local communities.


Call for action:

To implement this project, we require your support. You can extend monetary support or you are always welcome to volunteer with us.

You can also make your valuable donation at _link_