About Us

Haryana is a state located along the foothills of the Shivalik hills in North-Western India. Although a predominantly agricultural state, Haryana has built up a strong infrastructure base and is one of the leading states as far as economic development is concerned. However, the state has a meagre tree cover, which is only 7.1 percent of the geographical area. Forest land in the state is only 3.6 percent. To increase the area under tree cover the state had launched massive afforestation programmes on forest lands as well as non-forest lands, i.e. panchayat lands, common lands, degraded wastelands as well as plantation of suitable tree species on agricultural lands in conjunction with agricultural crops.

Haryana Community Forestry Project (HCFP)

The impact of Haryana Community Forestry Project has been that tree cover on common lands in project villages has increased from 9% to 32%. 8338 hectares of common lands have been brought under plantations. Trees on private lands have increased over 5½ times. Access to fuelwood from common and private lands has increased substantially for all economic groups, especially landless. 4.7 million paid workdays of employment opportunities have been generated through plantation work etc. Stabilisation of shifting sand dunes in the southern part of the state has reduced the incidences of dust storms. Afforestation along unstable river banks has stabilized the water courses and enriched the soil with biomass. Under the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a project activity has been formulated, covering an area of 370 hectares in Sirsa district of the state, for submission to UNFCCC.

The project had laid great emphasis on soil and water conservation. 19 water harvesting dams had been constructed in the Shivalik hills for impounding rain water and its utilization for increased agricultural production. The crop output has increased three times. In drier parts of the state 28 water reservoirs (johads) have been renovated, so as to increase availability of water for cattle as well as recharge underground aquifers. The project has promoted vermicomposting in all project villages to reduce soil toxicity from use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. As a result of this activity organic farming has picked up momentum in many project villages.

10,000 villagers of project villages have been imparted extensive training on management of Common Property Resources, establishment of Village Resource Management Committees as well as Empowerment of Women through Self Help Groups and micro-enterprise development. 294 Awareness Centres (Chetna Kendras) have been constructed to serve as a meeting place for members of Village Resource Management Committees and Self Help Groups.

Haryana Community Forestry Project (HCFP)

180 Self Help Groups have been formed in 101 villages. All SHGs are involved in income generating activities. Poor women have substantially increased their income through micro-enterprises financed from interlending of group savings in SHGs which has also helped them clear all indebtedness to money lenders. Cumulative group savings are Rs. 8.6 million, which has been used for revolving interlending of Rs. 18 million and earned Rs. 2.1 million as interest. The only monetary help given by the project to the SHG is a meagre amount of Rs. 2500 only.

Women have gained competence and confidence through the groups, breaking away with traditional inhibitions. They are sought after as resource persons by other departments and agencies. These women are discussing and taking action on social and community issues like environment protection, pollution, protection of tree plantation, management of village schools, sale of alcohol, female foeticide, dowry deaths etc. To grow further, they have organized themselves into 10 cluster associations and a state level apex federation to ensure sustainability.

To conserve fuelwood 8400 energy-efficient cooking stoves have been installed in the project villages. This has not only reduced the use of fuelwood, but also lessened incidences of lung obstruction and eye diseases.

Technical assistance to the project was provided by a consortium led by Agriconsulting S.p.A.

The project has been successful in establishing a practical and workable model for afforestation on common and private lands which is expected to be sustainable as people have committed themselves to its management and sustainability. Procedures and guidelines have been developed, to be emulated in future for conservation and development of natural resources through active participation of people.