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Taloja Watershed is a hill range adjoining the Taloja Lake and Owe dam. It is a watershed zone as it separates the rainwaters flowing to different water bodies including Taloja Lake in the near vicinity. It is situated close to Sector 35 C in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. The land belongs to Panvel Forest Dept. and the residents for Sector 35 have been carrying out environmental protection activity for the past few years. The forest department is keen that the local community take up the initiative of greening the hill. The hilly is largely denuded with fewer trees. There is an immediate requirement of soil control and afforestation of the hill. It will improve the water table as well as benefit the neighbouring Owe village as well. Additionally, it will enhance the biodiversity of the region.
Reforestation should be used to build forest networks that are surrounded by low-intensity land use and that provide links within regions and between biomes. By reforesting Taloja Hill we will be providing a healthy linkage among the hill ranges of Kharghar and Belapur.
Project Location: Sector 35I, Taloja Jail Road, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai
Project Duration: June 2020 - May 2023
Project Partner: Panvel Forest Dept.
Knowledge Partner: Ladybird Environmental Consultancy LLP.
Funding Agency: DCB Bank Ltd.
"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." ― Warren Buffett Therefore, reforestation builds and links forest networks surrounded by low-intensity land use and also links within regions and between biomes. Our film depicts how the reforestation of Taloja Hill is providing a healthy linkage among the hill ranges of Kharghar and Belapur.
Most of the villages that are close to forests use firewood, a reliable biofuel, for cooking on a regular basis. Our foundation decided to survey to know the key element in the firewood consumption and other non-timber product habits of population living near our Taloja hills. The study was conducted using a primary questionnaire from a female and male in every house who goes to the forest on regular basis or twice a week to collect firewood and other nontimber goods. Our survey had 32 responses in total. Up to 53.1% of them are aware about the iNaturewatch Foundation’s plantation, and they are eager to collaborate with us on this initiative. Our goal is to evaluate the percentage of local communities that are still completely dependent on forest. Due to this project we definitely trying to offer the jobs and employment in future.
The denuded environment is improving, and the saplings are developing well, according to the biodiversity survey and planting evaluation. However, the plantation suffered throughout the scorching heat because of a watering problem because there were no caretakers on duty. The issue was solved by employing labourers. By hiring workers, the saplings were watered twice a week. People are becoming more informed, and more and more of them are joining us for volunteer work. Many of them are also being proactive by alerting the project's WhatsApp groups to any accidents that occur on the site. We appreciate the solid connections we were able to create within the neighbourhood. We have high expectations for this project and are doing everything we can to make it a success.
In the last three months, we have conducted plantation review, grass mulching, watering, and tree guard installations for all our plants at the Taloja site. This was done to prepare the site for the onset of Summer. Volunteering activities were conducted along with educational nature walks to celebrate various eco days. We have had to deal with constant fires at the site.
In the past five months, we have conducted the seasonal biodiversity survey for monsoon season 2021, carried out plantation maintenance activities like Ring de-weeding, grass pressing, mulching, conducted monthly stakeholder engagement activities and carried out plantation review. A total of 123 species of plants and animals were recorded during monsoon 2021 surveys. We observed Plants (68), insects (15), amphibians (5), birds (26), reptiles (8), and mammals (1). 51 local volunteers and community members participated in 6 volunteering events. New caretakers were appointed as the earlier caretakers were not performing properly. The review of plants recorded around 2359 saplings dead (mortality rate 30%) with 5259 surviving out of the 7902 (5000 project target) planted. apart from this, we have also had to deal with constant forest fires, and watering issues at the site, for which we have also completed the installation of new water tanks in different locations for the ease of hydrating plants.
In April 2021 we have entered the second phase of the project. During the quarter, we conducted the seasonal biodiversity survey for summer 2021, did plantation, raised saplings in the community forest nursery with the help of the locals, conducted monthly stakeholder engagement activities and carried out sapling maintenance and plantation review. We planted a total 6969 saplings of 40 species including 1727 trees, 4157 herbs and 1085 shrubs at the Hill. We observed species of Plants (62), insects (16), amphibians (2), birds (24), reptiles (3), and mammals (1) during our surveys. We engaged 105 local volunteers and community members who participated in 6 volunteering events. New caretakers were appointed as the earlier caretakers were not performing properly. The review of plants recorded approx. 27% mortality (389 saplings dead with 1032 surviving out of the 1421 planted in first phase). More than 1000 plant saplings of various wild species were raised in the forest nursery with help of local volunteers. The raised saplings have been planted along the hills. We also created pathway for three nature trails. A professional video is getting developed for which we undertook drone shooting as well.
During the past six months, a seasonal biodiversity survey was conducted and raised a community forest nursery with the help of the locals. Monthly stakeholder engagement activities were also initiated and carried out sapling maintenance and plantation review. 71 local volunteers participated in 7 volunteering events. In 2 nature awareness programmes initiated by the team, 12 participants attended. 200 SVT tree guards were uninstalled, due to the forest fire incident. A new caretaker was appointed as the earlier caretaker was not taking care of the plantation property. The plantation review recorded approx. 20% mortality (278 saplings dead with 1138 surviving out of 1421 planted). 81 species of plants, 59 species of birds, 4 species of herpetofauna, and 8 species of insects were recorded at the site. A forest nursery was created and raised more than 1000 saplings of various wild species with help of local volunteers.
In the past six months, 15 contour bunds were created with the plantation of 1421 saplings (321 trees, 750 shrubs and 350 herbs). A local volunteer group was formed in which 33 participated in seven volunteering events. A nature awareness programmes were also initiated wherein two events were conducted with 22 participants attending the event. 200 SVT tree guards were installed at the site. Meetings with the local community members as well as neighbouring villages were conducted. A caretaker was appointed and all grass was cleared to avoid fire hazard during dry months. Soil and water samples were analysed. Summer and monsoon biodiversity surveys were also conducted to assess the overall biodiversity. The review report comprised of approx.13% mortality of recorded plants (180 saplings with 1241 surviving). 25 species of birds, 8 species of herpetofauna, 23 species of insects and 50 species of plants were also recorded.
The first bird survey was carried out on 6 June 2020 where 32 different bird species were recorded. The second survey was done on 14 June 2020 wherein 22 bird species were recorded. The total bird species recorded during the summer survey on the hill is 34 species.
The tree survey was carried out on 23 May 2020 and 6 June 2020. A total of 40 species were found on the hill.
This involves the placement of lines of stones along with the natural rises of a landscape, help to capture and hold rainfall before it can become runoff. They also inhibit wind erosion by keeping the soil intact. It consists of building earthen embankments across the slope of the land, following the contour as closely as possible. Altogether 15 continuous contour bunds were dug of approximately 12 to 16 feet long.
Plantation along slopes: Along the slope, we plant shrubs and herbs like Bamboo, Biter Hedge and Khaas. To date, we planted 350 herbs and 250 shrubs. Plantation on Hill Tops & Ridges: We planted all trees on hilltops and ridges. We planted 321 saplings. Our target for the year was 500 but managed to plant 321 saplings owing to the lockdown situation
You can help in creating a community forest besides the project mandate of 5000 saplings by helping us plant additional 1000 saplings.
You can choose to plant virtually. We will do real-time plantation and share photos and coordinates and care for them.
You can pledge a sapling for just Rs.500/- per sapling. We will plant a 6-month-old sapling and care for it for 3 years.
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