This Mumbai-based social enterprise has planted nearly 1 Cr of trees across India to protect animal habitats
An Israeli rating agency once requested technical assistance from Pradip Shah after he spoke at an SEC event in the United States. The agency planted 100 trees in his honor as a token of appreciation for his help and guidance.
The thoughtful gesture led Shah to create a social enterprise Grow-Trees.com which offers a pioneering, web-based and cost-effective solution for individuals and businesses to plant trees around the world, offset carbon emissions, improve wildlife habitats and benefit forest-dependent communities. Shah created the concept of “Greet with Trees®” and a “Treebank®” where one could plant and store trees virtually, and dedicate them to loved ones via eTreeCertificates®.
Since its inception in 2010, the organization has so far planted 99,57,356 trees across 23 states in India and is thrilled to be so close to the 10 million mark now.
“We mainly plant on community lands in villages and towns, and we work with local and tribal communities to provide them with jobs. While rural people already have an inextricable relationship with forests, we work to highlight the importance of planting trees through our planting initiatives in various cities and towns,” said Supriya Patil, Environmental Expert, Grow-Trees.com The Logical Indian.
Initiatives taken to preserve wildlife
The organization has programs that focus on vulnerable and endangered species in various parts of India. Their planting initiatives aim to restore habitats for tigers in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal, sloth bears and Indian giant flying squirrels in Rajasthan, black bears in Sikkim and sun bears in Arunachal Pradesh .
Some of the projects that Grow-Trees.com has introduced for wildlife include Trees for Elephants, Trees for Tigers, Trees for Hanguls, Trees for Himalayan Black Bear, Trees for Bears sloths, trees for slender lorises, etc.
“We have planted nearly seven lakh of trees in Jharkhand and Odisha to strengthen the Elephant Corridor, which also serves the Santhal and Munda tribes. The planted trees have generated employment for these communities, creating assets for them under the shape of trees, as the tribal communities mainly depend on the forest for food,” Patil said.
The plantation also helped resolve human-animal conflicts that had arisen due to the straying of elephants into human settlements due to habitat destruction. Additionally, a pond has been enlarged and water pumps have been erected in Lailam village in Jharkhand as part of the Trees+ initiative, ensuring that the population will not experience water scarcity.
Based on the population and native habitats of the different species, the organization has set up projects that can help to densify wildlife corridors and restore natural habitats.
“We also consider the feeding habits of animals. We only plant species that will benefit both wildlife and local people,” Patil explained.
“Every project we introduce strives to deliver a holistic impact by addressing dwindling forests, reduced wildlife numbers, and rural and tribal communities who face the brunt of deteriorating climate. environment,” she said.
Patil believes habitat loss is the most serious problem endangered animals face, making it difficult to locate food and leaving them vulnerable to predation. The Grow-Trees.com team consults with environmental experts, the Forest Department and local communities and does extensive research to understand which plant species would be beneficial for a particular animal. The process takes a lot of effort and research to make sure it’s correct and to understand the potential consequences to make informed decisions.
Risks Facing Flora and Fauna Across India
Asked about the various risks flora and fauna face across India, Patil said deforestation is the first and most common.
“As we all know, habitat loss does not just imply a lack of shelter, animals choose their trees for a variety of reasons, including protection from predators, availability of food, etc. When animals lose this sense of security, the growth of their offspring is often disrupted,” Patil pointed out.
The ecologist also added that the myths in the communities also endanger the flora and animals of the country.
“The slender lorises, for example, are frequently hunted in Tamil Nadu due to the idea that they are not beneficial to the community, even if they are favorable to the farmers. Hunting also contributes significantly to the extinction of some species,” she said. .
Patil also feels the need to make people aware that even small choices can make a significant difference to the environment and biodiversity. For example, reducing the use of single-use plastic, reusing and recycling old products, or composting at home to help alleviate issues that threaten flora, fauna, and human well-being.
Grow-Trees.com now intends to bring many communities with them, to integrate more urban spaces and to have more participation of the urban landscape. It also aims to set up planting programs on a global scale to respond on a large scale to the problems of global warming.
“We are also strengthening our ties with forestry departments and helping our partner companies achieve their goals of achieving carbon neutrality. We aim to establish the concept of Blue Carbon by launching mangrove planting campaigns in the country’s coastal belts” , Patil said.
In order to add more value to the life of local communities which often suffer from a lack of resources and amenities, Grow-Trees.com is also determined to introduce activities that can generate employment for these communities.
“For example, we recently provided families in Munnaikadu, Tamil Nadu with the necessary equipment to grow seaweed because it is extremely economical to grow and can thrive without fertilizers, fresh water or active human intervention and help. even to carbon sequestration,” Patil concluded.
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