Wadki village is located in the Haveli Tehsil of Pune District, Maharashtra. Situated 24 kms away from the Sub-District Headquarters and 21 kms away from the District Headquarters, Pune, this hilly area belongs to the Forest Department and is a part of the Saswad Grasslands. These grasslands span 6000 square kilometers stretching from Saswad to Indapur, Maharashtra. They constitute a breeding ground for small to middle-sized wildlife.
However, the vegetation is sparse and the few trees that have been planted in the area are not more than two or three years old. The grasslands are often used by villagers and poultry farms in the vicinity to dump carcasses of chickens and cattle which then attract wolves, foxes, and hyenas to this area.
On 9th April 2023, members of Team MyTree Pune conducted a field visit to Wadki to assess its topographical situation in preparation for a tree plantation drive during June and July 2023.
The team members observed that the Wadki Hill had no grass on it as it was burnt by the local occupants living downhill and very few trees exist in this region of less rainfall. Consequently, herbivores have no green grass to feed upon; there is no wild grass to hold the soil, and therefore, soil erosion has occurred on a large scale. The nullahs and small streams around the hill have also been filled with soil.
To avoid soil erosion, grass will be planted along with saplings of trees such as Neem, Banyan, Jangli Badam, Sheesham, Karanj, Kanchan, Bahava, and Shirish in the contour type of tree plantation. Mr. Rajesh Bhoite, a local villager, associated with the MyTree project will ensure that the saplings receive adequate water sourced from the water tank present on the plateau on the hill top.
The grasslands form a crucial ecosystem harboring more than 350 species of birds and twenty-five species of mammals including the Indian Grey Wolf and the Striped Hyena. The team members hope that with a thicker grass cover and absence of forest fires, smaller mammals such as rabbits and hares will frequent the area in search of food, and the fauna of these grasslands will thrive.
The water bodies in the surrounding area also require desilting and cleaning to ensure ample water supply and a subsequent increase in the rainfall.
The local inhabitants will be sensitized to the importance of planting green grass so they are protected from forest fires.
Legal permissions from the Forest Department will also be obtained to work on further activities in these grasslands.
To support the eco-initiatives of Team MyTree Pune, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.