A stray herd of cattle can set back years of vegetation growth. Therefore, it is essential to keep any grazing livestock out of an area during the first years of reforestation. To that end, more than 60 community members in Newratola, Chhattisgarh have been constructing cattle proof trenches. Eventually bamboo will be planted to create a living fence that further protects the revegetation of community forests. Harvesting this bamboo also offers materials for local artisans and entrepreneurs to create an income.
The work is funded by the Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (MGNREGA): a scheme that pays communities for work. So not only is the construction of these trenches a great way to catalyse community action, but the community benefits through direct employment, while laying the groundwork for the restoration of their landscape.