Wasteland development for ecological balance and engendering sustainable rural livelihood resources.

June 5, 2017

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India

Wasteland development for ecological balance and engendering sustainable rural livelihood resources.

About the Implementing organization

Name: Indian Farm Forestry Development Cooperative Limited (IFFDC)

Country: India

Year of establishment: 1993

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Cooperative business

Description

IFFDC\'s flagship programme of Farm Forestry focuses on mitigating climate change effects through developing participatory forestry on waste and marginalised lands belonging to individual farmers, Village Panchayats & Government. The communities are organised into Primary Farm Forestry Cooperative Societies (PFFCS) to manage the developed community forests on a sustainable basis. 152 Primary Farm Forestry Cooperative Societies (PFFCS) exists to manage community forestry. IFFDC supports PFFCS with technical, financial, Managerial inputs.This has resulted into green cover in more than 500 villages & restoration of the degraded lands. Economic returns from existing forests are presently restricted to selective felling, grasses and Minor Forest Produce and ensuring other environmental services/benefits to the community. The integrated approach led to attention being given to activities such as control of illegal felling, prevention of encroachment, better forest yield for improving economic returns to the stakeholders such as trading of carbon credits generated through these forests and defining the usufruct rights of these lands, etc. It has started the process for trading the carbon credit achieved from the plantation developed by PFFCS under Wasteland development projects in 3 States since 1995. IFFDC is planning to extend its arms to provide carbon trading services to small scale producers under its umbrella service mechanism with collaboration of the consulting firms.

Nature Element

Forests / Drylands

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Health / Renewable energy / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

       

Environmental Impacts

29,420 ha wasteland is converted into multipurpose forests having 480 trees/ha, net carbon stock of 176 million tones, 21,555 tones grass/year, soil erosion reduced to 1,32,000 tonne/year, sodic & saline lands into cultivable lands, control of illegal felling, reduced encroachment, better forest yield, trading of carbon credits, usufruct rights, increased grasses/MTPs, plantation of extinct species conserves biodiversity & water-logged areas developed into dense forest as shelter for birds/wild animals.15,667 ha land is treated under watershed development based on “Ridge to Valley” concept involving communities & adaptive mechanisms. Ground water recharge and an increase in water table help farmers taking the second crop. 213 Anicuts, 1025 ponds & 761 wells resulted in additional irrigation area of 15,171 ha, cropping intensity from 104% to 120%, increased land value, vegetable & fruit tree based farming, crop diversification, good fodder quality & additional income up to Rs 20,000/hectare.

Sustainable Development Impacts

The project has focussed largely on building & strengthening community-based organisations (PLDCS, SHGs, WUCs, JFMs, LCs) and village Para-professionals who acts as a link between the community & Government/other support agencies. All activities - watershed management, farming & livestock system development, income generation have taken place through these institutions. Emphasis was placed on sustainable livelihoods enhancement of both men & women through a range of land-based & non-land based activities, capacity-building and decision-making processes, community contribution and ownership, convergence and link with Government, financial institutions and other Stakeholders, a clear-cut withdrawal strategy and committed multi-disciplinary & capacitated project staff. By end of WIRFP project, in Rajasthan, most roles of IFFDC were being executed by PLDCS and after project withdrawal; they continue serving as financial, marketing and technical support agencies to their constituent CBOs.

Scalability

The very fact that IFFDC received the prestigious Times of India “Social Impact Award” under Environment category in 2015 and under Livelihood category in 2011, as well several other awards and honors such as “Indira Priyadarshini Virkshamitra Award-1999 by the Ministry of Forest and Environment, Government of India for its outstanding contribution towards environment up-gradation through afforestation and wasteland development, in itself, reflect the acceptance and believe by larger masses in the country in its approach and strategies of working in the rural sector thus complementing the Government’s work too. By building a strategic partnership with Government, Ministries and intergovernmental organisations, IFFDC is ensuring that any interventions it does trial and can prove to be successful are capable of being taken up nationwide by the relevant Ministry and supporting bodies.

Replicability

IFFDC came into existence formally in 1993 although its work of eco-restoration and wasteland development through farm forestry began in 1986-87 in 3 States of India. It framed its strategies to deal with specific issues arising as a corollary to the fast growing development needs and the aligned imperatives. Its wealth of accumulated experience over the years has helped to create for it a distinct niche in the rural development arena. Starting out primarily as a Farm Forestry Cooperative that would address the issue of land degradation, it expanded its areas of concern to include several portfolios in line with Government’s rural development initiatives and policies. Believing strongly in participatory approaches involving the poor communities in adopting improved technologies and strong institutional mechanisms has proved a successful model replicated within the country in different Agro-climatic zones The lessons learnt are being shared at different Platforms for policy influencing.

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