The project at hand is a comprehensive undertaking called – Empowering Communities for Ecologically Sound Development: A Participatory Action Research Project in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, India.
A comprehensive strategy has been developed to achieve the overarching goal of conservation and management of natural resources. This includes a detailed 10-year plan, which was prepared through extensive discussions and field assessments with village leaders and communities.
Amrita Dravya Foundation is contributing our field experiences and research methodology in areas such as biodiversity assessment, ecosystem assessment, ecological indicators assessment, invasive and alien species assessment, assessment of Rare, Endangered, and Threatened (RET) species, ecological niche assessment, ecological education, and traditional knowledge documentation for the preparation of action.
The collected data was meticulously analyzed, leading to the preparation of three comprehensive reports, including Ecological Profile, Biodiversity Resource Profile, & Floristic Profile. These reports serve as a cornerstone for future conservation and management endeavors, guiding strategic actions to ensure the preservation and sustainable management of this landscape.
The findings also facilitated ongoing dialogues with the local community to gather their views and knowledge for the formulation of an integrated landscape-level sustainable development plan. We developed five fundamental pillars for our work based on this namely, ecological restoration, food and nutrition security & sovereignty, mass movement, local governance, and livelihoods.
The participatory restoration action plan involves watershed development to address the water crisis which involves restoration of four ponds and subsequent ground water recharge of agricultural wells. Conversation of waterbodies follows the sustainable eco-restoration of 750 acres of community commons land that has presently turned barren due to invasive species Lantana camara. The eco-restoration also involves indigenous tree plantation and grassland development for inclusive social-cultural-economic-ecological-health aspects of the region.
Our journey involves partnerships with local government agencies, village bodies, and non-government actors and volunteers. We have mostly bootstrapped our efforts so far in terms of funding and are in conversation with various government and private agencies for grants.