Lesser-known Habitats Grant 2020

Project Name:

Conserving the Ayyalur habitat and its biodiversity

Project Brief:

The Ayyalur habitat of the Eastern Ghats is made up of unique dry deciduous and scrub jungle vegetation, confined to tropical thorn shrubs, open low vegetation characterised by thorny trees and Euphorbia. The habitat is ecologically important because it serves as a watershed to many small rivulets that meet the drinking and irrigation water supply for residents. This habitat is degrading fast due to constantly increasing pressure from tribal families which depend on these forest resources for a living. Their livestock grazing and collection of non-timber forest products are increasing beyond the natural regenerative capacity of forests, largely due to climactic variabilities, land use conversion and unsustainable methods used in forest product collection. This affects the biodiversity of endemic species of flora, including many are medicinal plants and herbs) and fauna like the Slender Loris which, whose populations are reducing.

Through this project, SEEDS Trust hopes to reduce pressure on forest resources to reduce, while improving biodiversity and carrying capacity. They hope to achieve this by working to enable tribal herders to produce fodder within their farms and by adoption of sustainable forest collection and value addition methods by across 10 villages. The project will also work on soil and water conservation, and on improving habitat for endemic wildlife to by installing bio-fences of native tree and scrub species along forest boundaries.

Project objectives:

The project aims conserve and promote regeneration of natural resources in two hillocks of Ayyalurforest as a model to sustainable regeneration of degraded habitats. This will be done by:

  • Reducing pressure on forest biodiversity by providing training to and supporting:
    • a. 200 women gatherers in sustainable harvest and value addition methods.
    • b. 200 cattle grazers in sustainable grazing methods and for in situ fodder cultivation within village farms.
  • Working towards soil and water conservation, as well as preserving food and habitat for endemic fauna by growing bio fences of native species along forest boundaries.
  • Sharing project experiences with diverse stakeholders to influence scaling up and policy support.