Over the years, the area under forest cover has decreased steadily. Once, about 80% of India was covered with forests, but now, the forest cover has reduced to 20% - this is a sure sign of alarming problems. Forests have been cleared for agricultural use, housing, cattle grazing and fuel needs by villagers. Large extents of forests have also fallen prey to developmental activities like the construction of roads, railways, industries, irrigation and hydroelectric projects. Trees are a major part of the ecosystem. They aid in preventing salinity and soil erosion, and provide shade, shelter, food and habitat to animals. Trees reduce the atmospheric CO2 level, which is a major cause for global warming and climate change. Forests help in seasonal rainfall, and if they disappear, there will rains, less rains resulting in dryer conditions that eventually lead to drought and agricultural losses.
Vanadurgi Foundation works on all possible aspects to create awareness of tree preservation and growing. Tree-based agriculture is a tradition that integrates forest trees into farming. Over 5 lakh trees of various species are planted every year as part of the agro-forestry programme. We organise field days and training programmes for farmers and villagers at grassroot levels to grow trees of timber value. We also establish forest communities and self-help groups in villages to take up tree-based farming practices. Formation of tree growers’ associations at the taluk level is also under progress. We distribute free books with information on valuable trees, their cultivation practices and all allied activities to our members. Tree nurseries are established to facilitate the donation of 50 agarwood, sandalwood and 5 fruit yielding forest trees to poor farmers, and at reasonable prices to others. Rainwater harvesting programmes and soil conservation measures at villages are also a part of our projects.
Vanadurgi Foundation plans to engage itself in various movements involving the rural masses, nature lovers, environment experts, government officers and scientists to create awareness among people on environmental issues and develop in them a sense of responsibility towards nature. Various schemes like the mass planting of trees, rainwater harvesting, creation of small tanks and such other similar projects will be initiated to make people start appreciating nature and protect their natural environment. Rural masses living in the proximity of forests will be made aware that they have a duty to perform and preserve the Earth. We organise several need-based programmes in collaboration with our associates and government institutions.
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