Regenerating Madhya Pradesh (Panna and Chhatarpur districts)

Chhatarpur district in M.P., India is a semi-arid region suffering from desertification and lack of sustainable livelihoods. It has vast areas of degraded and fallow land, under both public and private ownership. The project will use agroforestry on private farmlands to regenerate soil and help improve farmer livelihoods. On community lands, we will use afforestation to restore biodiversity and generate ecosystem services. Agroforestry intervention will aim to cover 10,000 hectares of private farmlands by enrolling approx. 10,000 farmers, and plant ~400 trees/ha. Afforestation intervention will target 2,500 hectares of community lands and plant ~5000 trees/ha of only native species. Agroforestry in this project will entail a mix of native fruit trees coupled with any economically lucrative grasses, culinary or medicinal herbs that will be integrated into the current lands of the farmers, which are primarily only growing seasonal crops. Hasten will work closely with its NGO partner in co-designing the farm agroforestry piece and recruit farmers who show interest in being part of the project. The cost sharing model will also be co-designed with the enrolled farmers with the farmers bearing a part of the planting and maintenance costs. Afforestation/Reforestation will be limited to the common lands that surround the project villages. The Afforestation design includes native trees, grasses and shrubs. High density planting and rain water harvesting structures to revive water habitats and related vegetation will be key elements. There will also be dedicated zones for fodder trees and grasses to meet the fodder and grazing requirements of the local community. The design of the community forests will be co-created with the local community. Just like the farmers enrollment plan, villages that show interest in rewilding their commons will be enrolled onto the program. The project will bear most of the cost of planting and maintenance of village commons.