Global Warming Adaptation
Tree planting: Some local Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) run tree planting workshops with communities in their areas. The aim is to restore native forests around village catchments to protect water supplies.
Prosopsis Julieflora (Vedi Babul in Marathi) is ideal for plantation as Vedi Babul requires very small quantities of water for its survival. The forest floor in the shade formed by a cluster of thorny shrub conserves water. It is important to ensure that the saplings mature, and are cared for in the years after planting. Many tree species planted have additional properties, such as producing fruit or having medicinal value, so that villagers can earn an income from the replanted trees, a further incentive to protect them. NGO provides training on how to care for saplings, and encourages women to get involved. Women are usually responsible for collecting water in the region, and therefore benefit from an improved local water supply. In all communities, a good number of women have participated in sensitization meetings to raise awareness of the problems, and also in planting activities.
The replanted tree cover acts as a store for rain when rain falls, and the water is released more slowly than where there is no tree cover. This regulates flows from springs and stream heads. More water is stored in the soil as well, tree cover where the ground was previously burnt reduces the speed of runoff, allowing more water to soak into the soil. Clearing eucalyptus trees also reduces the amount of water being soaked up.
Pongamia Pinnata (Karanj): Karanj is native of coastal India, the pongam tree has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, fertilizer, shade, lubrication, minor construction, and illumination. Pongam trees are deciduous, sub-evergreen trees that may grow up to 25 m tall, thriving in areas from sea level up to 1200 m. Pongam trees prefer areas with a dry season lasting from 2 to 6 months.
Madhuca indica (Mahua): Mahua is a large deciduous tree, found in Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa, in South Indian forests and in Sri Lanka. The 2.5 to 5 cm long, orange brown pipe flesh berry has 1 to 4 shining seeds. Drying and decortification yields kernel, which is 70% of total weight. The yield of seeds varies from 5 to 200 kgs, depending on size and age of tree. The tree starts bearing trees after 10 years, and Mahua bears seeds up to 60 years. At this age, the yield is 10 times more than the yield at the age of 10 years. Recovery of kernel is a village level activity, where there is lack of proper facilities for drying and preservation. Kernel contains 50% oil. The quality of expelled oil, largely depends on storage conditions of kernel, which are susceptible to attacks by fungus and insects.
Azadirachta indica (Neem): The neem tree is an evergreen tree of the mahogany family that is native to India and Burma. Neem is found in tropical and subtropical climates, withstanding extremely dry conditions, but also tolerating sub-humid conditions. Neem trees are fast-growing and can grow up to 35 m tall, and although evergreen, they will lose their leaves in times of severe drought. They have wide spreading branches creating a scenic, round to oval crown that sits upon a relatively short trunk. One tree can produce millions of flowers, and in one flowering cycle, a mature tree may produce many thousands of seeds. Seeds are small and round to oval in shape, with oil content ranging from 20-33%, depending on the variety.
Simarouba (Laxmitaru): Simarouba Glauca, is an edible oil seed bearing tree, which is well suited for warm, humid, tropical regions. Its cultivation depends on rainfall distribution, water holding capacity of the soil and sub-soil moisture. Laxmitaru is suited for temperature range of 10 to 40oC. the tree is now found in different regions of India. Laxmitaru can be grown on waste tracts of marginal, fallow lands of Southern India.
Moringa oleifera (Ben-oil tree): The Ben-oil tree is believed to be native to India, Arabia, and possibly even across Africa and the Caribbean. Laxmitaru has been used by tropical societies for centuries as folk remedies, food, living fences, cleaning and disinfecting, lubrication, and cosmetics. The trees are short and slender, rarely growing above 10 m in height, and the seeds are produced in long pods containing about 20 seeds within the pith. The Ben-oil tree is found in subtropical to tropical dry to moist climates, tolerating rainfall from 0.5 to 4 m annually with temperatures ranging from 19 to 28oC. These trees are said to tolerate drought, sandy soils, bacteria, and fungi.