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Landscape restoration initiatives in India benefit rural communities, report says

WRI researchers recommend widespread application of nature-based solutions
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Land restoration in India. Photo credit: WRI India/Prayash Giria

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Landscape restoration in India will improve the lives of women, unemployed youth, landless people and small and marginal landholders, according to researchers with World Resources Institute (WRI).

A new report focused on the central Indian district of Sidhi suggests that restoring land by growing trees and protecting forests would do more than conserve biodiversity, improve water recharge, sequester carbon, enhance rural livelihoods and spur rural development.

“It’s a nearly $19 million opportunity that this rural district can’t afford to miss,” the researchers with WRI India said, recommending the widespread application of such nature-based solutions to climate change in other degraded areas.

In Sidhi, most livelihoods are forest and land dependent, but over time, changes in forest composition, land degradation, rising temperatures and desertification have had negative consequences.

Local people should be at the core of changes, actively designing and implementing landscape restoration projects, the researchers said.

More than 700 million people in India depend on forests and agriculture for sustenance. And over 250 million people depend on forests for fuelwood, fodder, food security and non-timber forest products.

The researchers adapted the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) to include criteria that go beyond the environmental benefits of restoration, assessing the impact of land restoration on the economy, land tenure and resource rights.

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