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Ayyalur forest

Agroecology, 
non-timber forest products, 
honey

SEEDS Trust Fondation
Maisons du Monde

 

Ayyalur area is a protected forest governed by the Tamil Nadu forest department. This forms part of the Eastern Ghats, which are a chain of Small hills and forested Highlands spread across a distance of more than 200 km. 

This ecologically important region hosts the largest number of species of animals and plants in India. The forest hosts the endangered red slender loris along with other important species like wild boar, panther, jackal, Indian gaur, spotted deer, elephant, monkey, Indian porcupine, many species of reptiles and birds.

The region is rich in flora: teak, ebony, white teak, and medicinal plants (sandal wood, switenia mohogani).

 

Major issues

 

Slender Loris is a fast declining species due to the poaching for medicinal and meat uses. The tribal communities living in the forest are allowed to collect and sell minor forest products except timber. But the income from this activity is small so they poach and hunt wild animals for supplementing income.

Poaching is not the only factor: fringe communities involved in small farming use high doses of pesticides which kill fragile Loris, due to toxicity in water and soil. Logging also destroys the habitat of the Loris and affects all other mammals and species in the forest. In the long run, this may endanger the entire ecosystem balance of Ayyalur and its local population.

 

 
  

The project and the prospects for change

 

SEEDS Trust’s past experience and the support of stackeholders like the Forest Department has established trust with the communities and a solid and promising starting point for the project implementation. The project innovative approach to tackle the roots of Loris extinction relies on promoting environmental, social and  economic development simultaneously, which will reduce the impacts of poverty. The project will be implemented in 3 communities (Paliyar, Pulaiyar and Arndathiyars) and 30 villages that live in or around the Ayyalur forest.

It will benefit 450 families and directly improve the slender Loris population through conservation and habitat regeneration. The project aims to develop income-generating activities for the populations living in and around the forest in order to preserve its biodiversity. To that end, SEEDS has developed activities addressing the three factors responsible for the Loris extinction (poaching, pesticides, and logging) :

  • Development of income-generating activities with the tribal communities living inside the forest. This activity will support the collection and sale of Non-Timber Forest Products (crafts, honey, tamarind, nuts,...). 150 women will be trained to develop products to be marketed (bamboo baskets, brooms,...).
  • Training of 300 farmers to agriculture without pesticides.
  • Setting up of tree nurseries for reforestation activities. 

Annual workshops will be conducted to promote the project and ensure experience is shared among peer groups.

  

Committed partners

 

Social Education and Environmental Development Scheme (SEEDS) Trust has successfully carried out several development activities in the Tamil Nadu State in India since its creation in 1997. SEEDS’s objective is to help the poorest communities to achieve their autonomy and to improve their livelihoods by developing a holistic approach of nature conservation. SEEDS works closely with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department to set up projects in the region.

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To learn more about this project please click on this link.

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