Planting trees for posterity: Uttarakhand’s Dev Van

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Bageshwar; A dozen womenfolk from the village of Shama in Bageshwar under the SHG ‘Saas Bahu Swayam Shayta Samooh,’ banner successfully planted fifty seedlings of Oak and Angu (Fraxinus micrantha), towards the end of July.

The initiative taken by Chinar (Central Himalayan Institute for Nature and Applied Research) for developing a ‘Dev Van’ or Sacred Grove by the community has made its mark on Google maps: Laudato Si’ Gardens which already has major global presence.

Talking more about the project, Dr. Pradeep Mehta of Chinar fills us in, “Conservation without community involvement is impossible. Faith and conservation is an old age practice in Himalaya.
 Sacred groves is one such example where the community devotes a specific area around their home to local god or goddess for conservation.” Adding, “The barren area around Shama is being developed as Dev Van. We are encouraging some two hundred families of Shama to plant tree seedlings on any auspicious occasions in the village be it birth, marriage or even in the memory of their loved-one.”

At an altitude 2100 mtrs, the women folks of the village are more than eager to do their bit. What makes the initiative more heartening is the number of women, across ages, coming out in the heart of monsoon to plant the seedlings.

Planting trees for posterity, the villagers hope to inspire many more over the coming seasons as CHINAR plans to replicate this conservation model in other parts of Uttarakhand as well.