Invasive Species

Invasive to Incentive: Creating a Green Economy That Removes Invasive Weeds and Restores Forests

By 2030 we will restore 500,000 hectare of forests degraded by invasive species, through the creation of a green economy that generates at least 10,000 green jobs
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The problem

Forest-dependent indigenous tribes across India are poverty-stricken, marginalized communities struggling to make a living. These communities, who have been primarily hunter-gatherers, depend on Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs) for their day to day earnings. Ill-conceived nationalization of forests across India worsened their plight by limiting their access to forests which was their only source of livelihoods. 

The Chamarajanagara district’s Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve (BRT) and Malai Mahadeshwara wildlife sanctuary (MM Hills) are inhabited primarily by the indigenous Soliga community. ATREE found that the impact of nationalization of forests is exacerbated by the spread of invasive weeds. Lantana camara was the main culprit in reducing NTFPs – one of the main resources of livelihoods for these communities. Lantana is currently occupying more than 47% of the forest’s understory and hampering the growth and multiplication of native forest biodiversity, and animal life. Several organizations including forest department attempted one-time removal of Lantana only to find that the tenacious weed came back. This heavily invasive weed restricts movement of animals throughout the forest, due to its thickness and dense nature. 

The solution

For the Soliga community, whose average household earning is just $1 a day, ATREE tested the alternative of using the stubborn weed, Lantana itself, as a livelihoods resource. ATREE’s innovation of converting “weeds-to-wealth” promises a dual advantage of improving livelihoods and simultaneously promoting biodiversity conservation.
Please click the button below to see more of this work in action, and to buy lantana products.

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This project is currently being financially supported in partnership with the
Social Venture Partners, Bangalore Chapter
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