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State Forest Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh


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Integrated Land and Ecosystem Management to Combat Land Degradation and Deforestation in Madhya Pradesh.

Executing Partners : State Forest Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh lies at the geographical centre of India. It encompasses major parts of the central highlands as well as parts of the eastern highlands. It constitutes parts of the upper catchments of five principal river systems - the Yamuna, Ganga, Mahanadi, Godavari and Narmada. Madhya Pradesh is endowed with rich and diverse forest resources. Significant differences in forest types include Dry thorn, Dry and Moist Deciduous, Sub-Tropical Semi-Evergreen, and Tropical Moist Evergreen Forest. Based on species composition, there are four main forest formations, namely: Teak Forest, Sal Forest Bamboo Forest and Miscellaneous Forest. Estimates of the Forest Survey of India suggest that forests cover 24.4% of the State's land area, with dense forest constituting 13.66% and open forest 10.74%.

Bamboo bearing areas are also very widely distributed within the State. Of the total forest area covered by bamboo in the country (9.6 MHa), Madhya Pradesh alone accounts for more than 1.8 million hectares. The major species are Bambusa arundinacea, Cephalostachyum pergracile, Dendrocalamus strictus and Oxytenanthera nigrociliata. Of these, only D. strictus is exploited on a commercial basis as the other species are found only in small patches. With increased population pressure, natural stands of bamboo are being indiscriminately cut for fuel, wood and furniture, for obtaining cultivable lands, and grazing, endangering its valuable germplasm.

Project Objective
To promote community-driven sustainable land and ecosystem management at the landscape level through integration of watershed management, joint forest management, and sustainable livelihoods development so as to balance ecological and livelihood needs.

Project Areas
Village cluster in the four districts - Betul, Chhindwara, Sidhi and Umaria.

The Project
The project targets landscapes being targeted that provide critical ecosystem services for the State of Madhya Pradesh such as provisioning services (food, fresh water, fuel wood, fiber, and other non-timber forest products), cultural services (the social, religious and cultural life of the tribal communities residing in Madhya Pradesh are closely linked to the forest), supporting services (soil formation, nutrient cycling and primary production). There are also upstream downstream linkages in terms of generation and consumption of environmental services, with different sets of downstream beneficiaries. There is a clear hydrological linkage between the presence of forest vegetation in upstream catchment areas and the watershed services accruing to downstream beneficiaries in terms of soil and water conservation, silt control, flood and landslide prevention, water quality and quantity regulation and wetland maintenance.

Within this broader landscape, the project focuses on four districts that are prominent for their combination of human poverty and fragile ecosystems - Betul and Chhindwara in the southern part of Madhya Pradesh and Sidhi and Umaria in the eastern part of the State. The selected village clusters of the four target project districts have a forest cover of roughly 45-50% of geographical area. The project districts play a critical role in protecting ecosystem services, such as water regulation and soil retention that have downstream impacts in bordering states, as well as for harboring endemic, endangered, threatened and rare fauna and flora.

The project districts are primarily located in dry deciduous zones, with high precipitation and temperatures. Soil and agro-ecological conditions are thus not adequate for a long agricultural season. The rural landscape is highly susceptible to soil erosion, surface soil run-off, and seasonal floods owing to its characteristically undulating terrain, fragile geological conditions, and heavy rains. In areas of intensive land use, soil erosion, forest degradation, and reduction of soil fertility in agricultural land have become increasingly evident. Also, anthropogenic factors such as overgrazing, deforestation, illegal tree felling, poor farming practices, reduced fertile inputs to land, poor soil and irrigation water management, and poor entitlements for agrarian development have contributed to land and ecosystem degradation.

In order to preserve the range of ecosystem services, the long-term solution is to support and promote sustainable rural livelihoods, which balance socio-economic needs with environmental benefits at the community-level. Furthermore, each component of the livelihood system should be adapted to increase its resilience to climate change and variation.

Project strategy
17. Based on an analysis of the baseline situation and consultations with the project stakeholders described above, the project strategy is to take an integrated approach to maintaining ecosystem services in the four Project Districts of Madhya Pradesh, wherein project actions are integrated along the following 4 dimensions:

Taking an integrated approach to promoting the three global environmental objectives of sustainable land management, mainstreaming sustainable use of biodiversity in livelihood sectors, building resilience to climate change
Balancing ecological needs with livelihood needs
Strengthening the linkages between on-the-ground investments with upstream institutional strengthening and policy change
Providing a spatial continuum of interventions from the village-level, through the State level, to the national level (impact at the national level will be realized by feeding project experiences into the overall SLEM Partnership being led at the national level)

In order to optimize the use of limited resources, the project will focus on removing barriers to promoting integrated ecosystem management that balance ecological and livelihood needs and provides a broader range of livelihood options for the tribal/rural poor, while maintaining critical ecosystem services. Further, demonstration activities will be targeted in four districts of Madhya Pradesh organized on the basis of 4 micro-catchments/ watersheds.


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