The Manav Ekta Mission and Sunbird Trust are partnering in a tree plantation programme called ‘Project MyTree North East’ for planting 10,000 trees in and around 15 selected villages in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam.
About the Sunbird Trust
Sunbird Trust is a non-religious, apolitical non-profit organization with its national office in Bangalore. The focus of its activities is ‘Peace through Education’ in conflict-affected Northeast India. It facilitates financial and physical access to education to underprivileged children. Over the past three years, Sunbird has furthered afforestation through these local communities by facilitating planting of several hundred trees, including fruit trees. The Trust can be reached at: www.sunbirdtrust.com
Deeply forested areas of North East India are being rapidly denuded through rampant logging. The reducing tree cover is not only affecting local ecosystems and causing soil erosion, but also destroying sustainable livelihoods. Massive plantation of forest trees would contribute to rejuvenating the fragile environment.
Planting Schedule & Locations
The planting will be executed in phases over the next three years:
Phase 1: Year 2016 – Planting of 1,000 saplings in Manipur
Phase 2: Year 2017 – Planting of 4,000 saplings in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam
Phase 3: Year 2018 – Planting of 5,000 saplings in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam
It is proposed to plant the saplings in 12 different locations of Manipur, Nagaland and Assam. For the current year, tree plantation has been carried out at Ijeirong (in Haochong Block), Muvanlai, and Kangchup Songlung villages.
a) Haochong Block (Ijeirong and five other villages) (Manipur): The pilot project area of Sunbird Trust. Tree plantation will be done in six villages of this block. Sunbird Friendship Hostel with 150 children is located at Ijeirong Village – these children will be given responsibility for maintenance of the saplings.
b) Muvanlai Village (Manipur): Located near Singhat, of Churachandpur district, Sunbird Trust has constructed a small Primary School in this village to cater to the needs of underprivileged children.
c) Kangchup Songlung(Manipur): This small village of about 60 families consists of subsistence farmers, many of them resettled after the Kuki-Naga violence of the 90s. The village is severely denuded of trees and forest cover.
d) Muirei (Manipur): This small village of about 320 persons is located in Ukhrul District and its inhabitants were resettled here after clashes within the community a few decades ago. Most are in indigent poverty with very little land and work either as farmers or labourers.
e) Longpi Kajui(Manipur): This village in Chingai block of Ukhrul district is famous for its black pottery. The village has a population of about 8,000 persons who hail from over 20 clans.
f) Angangba(Nagaland): This village of about 2,000 people is in remote Longkhim Tehsil of Tuensang District. Mass deforestation has occurred here due to indiscriminate tree felling in the past.
g) Majuli (Assam): This 1,250 sq kms island is in the midst of the Brahamaputra River in Assam. The island is frequently flooded in the monsoon season. Tree plantation is planned in places around Jengraimukh village on the island.
Types of Trees
Both forest and trees will be planted based on their suitability to local conditions. Some of the forest trees to be planted include Teak, Pine, Oak, Uningthou, Magnolia, and Bamboo. Fruit trees will include Orange, Jackfruit, Litchi, Sapota, Jamun, and Mango, among other varieties.
Implementation & Upkeep
For Phase 1, preliminary survey was carried out in July and August 2016 to determine numbers and tree types suited to the villages and desired by the villagers themselves. Based on preliminary survey, sources will be explored – these will include the Forest Department, Horticulture Department and private suppliers. Trees including ornamental, timber, fodder, and fruit trees were procured in August 2016 and distributed in the various villages under supervision. The tree plantation will be carried out and monitored on ground through the Sunbird representatives at the various villages. The Phase 1 planting will be over in October 2016.
Location and type of trees will be noted for monitoring growth of the saplings. Where necessary, tree guards will be provided. To ensure survival of the trees, each family will be made responsible for nurturing and protecting the saplings in and around their houses and fields. The families are expected to benefit significantly from both the forest as well as fruit trees. The fruit trees, to be planted by each family as part of this initiative, would not only provide additional nutrition to the family, but also generate additional income.