Saturday, 2 August 2008

Traveller's Forest





One of the main reasons for many of the rivers in Kerala to be in a bad state is deforestation in catchment areas. More and more green cover is being lost in even places like Kerala which even until recently had 30% of forest coverage. In today’s value frame work, which promotes/accepts exploitation of natural resources for private material gains, it’s becoming more and more difficult to motivate local communities with the arguments of global eco-restoration.



The value of land (in the context of Kerala) is shooting up exponentially, community lands and even the Government / Panchayat lands are considered too precious to be “wasted” by planting trees. It is in this context that we started looking at bringing in private partnerships to be flag-bearers of greening movement. Any greening project as part of the eco-restoration will not be successful if the local communities are not the main stake holders. We realize the fact that eco-restoration is much easily said than done. So Nila Foundation in association with Kodeeri Natural Camp and The Blue Yonder decided to come up with Traveller’s Forest in the village of Naduvattom along River Nila.




Our small initiative of setting up Travellers forest in association with travelling communities and local communities is only a small step to bring back the lost green cover that could influence the global weather restoration process, which in turn will also restore the natural hydrological cycle of the local area.



Objectives:
** To regenerate green cover by planting appropriate species of flora, with an aim of bringing back the climatic and hydrological conditions
** To involve travelers and tourism industry in greening the globe
** To demonstrate the tangible benefits of afforestation and create awareness amongst various stake holders.
** To create a model of developing and maintaining forests on public/private vacant lands.



First project:

A vacant plot of about 1.75 acres is situated in a small village called Naduvattom under Kuttippuram Panchayath, Malappuram District, Kerala, India. The land belongs to a private family trust of Payoor Mana. As per the partition deed of the family, land is to be protected, nurtured and maintained and the earnings from the land should be used for the maintenance of four temples belonging to the family. Over the past many years, the land is disused for quarrying, posing threat to the environment.

Local implementing partner, Kodeeri Natural Camp convinced the family trust to protect the land in order to help regeneration of natural harmony in the region that will help restoration of water sources and preservation of indigenous flora and fauna.The Blue Yonder will be planting one sapling each on behalf of our travellers visiting the region.

We are glad to announce the participation of River Retreat in Cheruthuruthy and Kairali Group who have come on-board to support this initiative. All their guests will be taking part in growth of travellers forest. Funds required for maintenance of the land for forest including recharging of dried out wells, maintaining a nursery, training of local communities and workshops will be taken care of by supporting partners and voluntary donations from the travellers. The funds will be managed by Nila Foundation and any transaction on behalf of the Travellers Forest will be available on public domain and there will be a half yearly audit by a Chartered Accountant which will be shared with all the stake-holders. Financial contribution from all our supporters and guests will be uploaded on to the new website of Travellers Forest that we are designing. Any dealings will be transparent and accountable and open for social audit as we want this to be a role model in social initiatives by private sector.

The first planting of saplings were done on the 1st of August 2008 by a group of Dutch travellers who were visiting River Nila through The Blue Yonder.

© The Blue Yonder 2008

5 comments:

Elizabeth Pope said...

Cute logo. Hey, I am not sure of that writing of 'traveller's forest' though. Its not providing the smooth flow which all your logos normally have.

Raj Gywali said...

Great work Gopi...

I did launch a carbon offset forest in a village in Ghana... we plant 10 trees for every traveller coming through socialtours to Ghana and also volunteers coming via United Planet to Ghana... anyways, the idea is simple

10 trees for each traveller... 10 Dollars to the village... 1 dollar per tree... the village gets the saplings for free from the local reserve, so the money is used by the community organisation for development purposes...

Multifold benefits

1. support village economy
2. promote environment protection by putting value on regeneration... I think it is useless to bang on about awareness... at the village level, this makes no difference until it has direct benefits
3. Involve travellers into environment protection
4. Not to forget, a better image and another responsible step for socialtours

Kudos... this is the way to go!

We will be launching a similar scheme in Nepal soon. problem there is the community taking care of the forest and having to create systems to ensure that the saplings are taken care of... we are working on it...

But not on the scale of TBY.... keep it going!

Birgit Berman said...

Planting a little seedling into the soil of Kerala is an act that is not carried out only by the wish for a green future, it is a step towards it. To my mind, the Travellers Forest is a great initiative and an opportunity to become personally connencted to the local eco-reality. It was a great pleasure to me digging a little seedling into the soil with
the hope that this will become a stong and big tree as the years pass by. Seeing people travelling all over the world to plant a tree might be an impressive observation for the local community - and at the best an inspiring one. For the travellers, who plant a tree at the other side of the world, could it be the same - an inspiration to take a closer look at the state of nature back home.

What I could imagine beeing beautyful to the initiative is setting up a similar project at home, getting people together, planting trees and exchange the documentary of this. By sharing pictures of these activities the conciousness of the initiative can be multiplied - just by seeing and knowing that the seed of travellers forest is continued
when everybody returns to their homecountry. It´s like the travellers forest becomes branches all over the world.

Susanna Hagen said...

Talking about the change of our climate and what we all should do is one thing, acutally doing something about it, is another. Other then most CO2-initiatives we hear about in our part of the world the Travellers Forest is a real and visible experience that not only makes you feel good but seems to ignite the enthusiasm in the community also. As a traveller it was a super experience to actually plant a tree, something a city-dweller in the mid of Europe hardly ever gets to do. This is a memory that will accompany me and my friends for a long time and make us think about what we owe the world for our lifestyle.

and the communities around it have the support of The Blue Yonder which they will need to run this project.

chartered accountant said...

That's a great activity, planting trees giving helping save our environment specially now that global warming occurs.Keep up the great work.