Grow-Trees has been creating water bodies to sustain the biodiversity of the eco-sensitive region.
Mukteshwar's scenic beauty is a perfect counterpoint to urban pollution and concrete jungles. Located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand and situated at an elevation of 2,285 metres above sea level, this beautiful, forested area is rich in biodiversity and offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks. Mukteshwar, however, is losing its natural abundance as a result of heavy tourist influx, environmental and habitat degradation, garbage crisis, water scarcity, and climate change. The rain cycle of this once perfectly idyllic spot has also been disrupted. The social organisation Grow-Trees, which has planted millions of trees across India, has been working extensively in Uttarakhand for the last five years to address these issues.
Bikrant Tiwary, CEO of Grow-Trees, says, "We have been busy implementing Trees+, a project that goes beyond afforestation to balance the rainfall pattern in Mukteshwar. Rain harvesting can play a critical role in not just water conservation but also in the controlled distribution in areas that do not get enough rainfall. We dig trenches and pits to collect rainwater from higher altitude areas and facilitate its flow downwards so that a reliable water source can be formed. "
As far as afforestation goes, as always, there was nothing random about it as Grow-Trees conducted discussions with the local Gram Panchayat and Van Panchayat committees. Says Tiwary, "We learned about what kinds of plant species grow in hilly terrains and how much moisture they require to thrive and proceeded accordingly. In areas where pine trees aggravate forest fires, oak trees have been planted, and every sapling we plant has a specific role to play.
Up till now, Grow-Trees has created 32 water bodies in this region, and a single pond could hold up to 20,000 litres of water and can easily sustain animals, birds, plants, and local communities.
Concludes Tiwary, "Grow-Trees does not believe in simply planting trees; we also believe in putting appropriate measures in place to protect and nurture these plants so that they can grow to full maturity." These water bodies that we have created will ensure soil moisture and help biodiversity thrive. We hope that we will be able to restore the natural ecological balance of this region soon."