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India: Himachal Pradesh Reforestation Project
(Biocarbon Fund Tranche 2)

UNFCCC Reference No.: 4174

Project Photo 1
Potential site for reforestation
Context:
The state of Himachal Pradesh is located in the North-Western Himalayan region of India and has 12 districts, which are categorized into four agro-climatic zones: i) Shiwalik hills, ii) Mid hills, iii) High hills and iv) Cold dry zone. The net sown area of Himachal Pradesh has declined over the past decades, and forests in Himachal Pradesh are in continuous degradation as a result of biomass loss. Since the Government of India’s 1980 Forest Conservation Act banned conversion of forestland to non-forest uses, there has been no shift of non-cropland, such as forest, revenue, and common land, to agricultural land. Thus, the degraded forest and community land cannot be converted to agriculture or horticulture, and the most plausible baseline scenario is continued degradation of forest and community land.

The Project:
The India Himachal Pradesh Reforestation Project is reforesting 4,000 hectares of the Siwalik hills of Himachal Pradesh, in catchment areas for the major rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The project is developed by the Government of Himachal Pradesh – Department of Forests and under the Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project (MHWDP) of the World Bank.  It is implemented under four guiding principles: (i) adopting native and locally preferred tree species for reforestation (including over 50 native species), (ii) involving the local Gram Panchayats (GPs) and small and marginal farmers in reforestation activities that will strengthen the ongoing watershed interventions, (iii) facilitating technical, financial and capacity development support from MHWDP to reforestation activities, and iv) distributing carbon revenue to the village community (GP and farmers).

Project Photo 2
Restored area
Environmental Benefits:
The project is restoring highly vulnerable degraded lands, including forestland, degraded community land, and degraded and abandoned private lands in the Mid-Himalayan watersheds. Thus, the project is improving the productive potential of the degraded land and watershed catchment areas by enhancing biomass production and carbon stocks. In addition, the project activities are promoting biodiversity conservation, soil conservation and environmental protection through planting and protection of native tree species, reduction in soil erosion, and prevention of downstream siltation of water bodies.

Social and Community Benefits:
Through community involvement, the project is working to sustainably improve livelihoods and incomes of rural households. Small and marginal farmers are involved in plantation activities on degraded common lands, degraded forestlands, and private degraded lands through planting of multi-purpose species and implementing sustainable forest management practices. The project is generating employment through silvicultural activities, such as nursery raising, site preparation, seedling transportation, planting, fencing, and maintenance of plantations. The broader MHWD project includes several activities that promote livestock development, fodder production, infrastructure development, and institutional capacity enhancement.
 



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