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India to spend 6+ billion dollars toward reforestation

 
Troy Rhodes
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http://qz.com/675910/india-plans-to-spend-6-billion-on-creating-new-forests/


I can only hope there are some permaculture people involved somewhere in the loop.
 
Marco Banks
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The article talks about how these reforestation projects can easily be scammed, because people will get paid to plant but will set the hillsides on fire, and then claim that all their planted trees were burned up. Once planted, who is responsible to see the trees continue to grow?

I'd much rather see the government reward individual farmers for planting and maintaining new trees on their land. When no one owns the trees, no one maintains the trees. But if you give people incentive to improve their land and plant trees on it, they'll make sure that they stay alive and that goats don't mow them down. Perhaps they could even sign 30 year lease agreements with farmers to take over degraded land and pay them to improve that land with trees, water catching earthworks, and carbon capturing agro-forestry. Any produce that comes off the land would be kept by the farmers, so long as they do not cut down the trees.

In fact, you wouldn't have to pay them --- just give them access to training and free resources like tools, trees and long-term leases with the option to buy the land they've regenerated.

India should take a page out of China's play book and copy the work the Chinese did on the Loess Plateau. The work they've been able to accomplish and the regeneration of this desert to productive, green farm land and forests is absolutely stunning.


 
Marco Banks
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One more video on the Loess Plateau project in China.



The key is low-cost, long term leases for the farmers. Otherwise people will not maintain the earthworks necessary for the ongoing success of these forestry projects. On the Loess Plateau, many of the trees they are planting are fruit trees (around the 6 minute mark of the video). Those apples look amazing. Farmers will not plant and care for fruit trees unless they know that they will have ownership of these trees for years to come.

I look at what they are doing and there is so much more they could be doing with this if they understood a few permaculture principles like stacking functions, support species, etc. But even without this, they've taken completely denuded land and have turned it into productive farmland. As you see how much carbon they are growing up and down the hillsides, all that fertility is trickling down through the entire system. Water is being captured and infiltrated. Sunlight is being converted to bio-mass, calories, and soil regenerating root exudates.

I hope the government of India will take a look at what China has done and copy it. Heck -- our own government should do the same.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Marco Banks wrote:The article talks about how these reforestation projects can easily be scammed, because people will get paid to plant but will set the hillsides on fire, and then claim that all their planted trees were burned up. Once planted, who is responsible to see the trees continue to grow?


Ooog. Yes, there are many ways people scam the system in India, but I hadn't heard of that fire trick. in my region, Ladakh, the government has a "Desert Development Department" and a "Forestry Department" (though there are virtually no natural forests in the region). I see many locations where people were given a subsidy to green up the desert, and years later it's not green. A core issue is that the economy is moving away from farming, so some people are barely able to keep growing and maintaining their ancestral land, let alone put in the work to green up some new desert land.

There are so many reasons for this it's pointless to just say "corruption." The economy is changing anyway, away from farming; the bloated govt services and subsidies have created a huge culture of expecting handouts; oh, I could go and an on, but it's just tedious.
 
Marco Banks
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This article was just published today in the Los Angeles Times:

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-india-water-20160505-story.html

There is a direct correlation between deforestation and desertification. India has cut down their trees, and now the rivers run dry, wells are drying up, and watersheds no longer function to hydrate the aquifers and the villages that depend upon them for water.

The solution is simple but will take years to bear fruit: you have to reforest these watersheds and rehydrate the land through massive reforestation.

Sadly, this is happening all over the world, and yet governments are doing little to stop the massive destruction of forests, and even less to reforest places that once were moisture sinks. And then when the water all dries up, the "solution" is big tanker-trucks hauling water. Stupid.

On a local level, watershed by watershed, we need people to take responsibility to reforest their land, maintain those trees, and put into place water capturing earthworks. The problem was created as tree-by-tree, billions of trees were removed and burned for new farm land or to make charcoal. The solution will be crafted tree-by-tree, until billions of trees are re-introduced.

The best organization that I know that is doing this is Plant With Purpose, out of San Diego. May their tribe increase.

https://www.plantwithpurpose.org/plant-trees/

 
Tyler Ludens
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Marco Banks wrote:

The solution is simple but will take years to bear fruit: you have to reforest these watersheds and rehydrate the land through massive reforestation.


I think the turn-around on rain harvesting earthworks is very fast - swales can rehydrate a landscape in about four years. Small structures (such as berms and basins) work as well, but more of them need to be built. And of course plant trees in these structures.

I think if we really got serious about it, all our current land and water problems could be mostly solved in one decade from today.

 
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