In a time where population explosion is driving the pace of commercialisation, what remain unabashedly rampant are deforestation, poaching, and uprooting of trees. In such dire times, the ancient beliefs of the indigenous tribes have stood as protective sentinels for these lush yet vulnerable Meghalay lands.
Meghalaya has 80 per cent of its area under green cover—over thrice the Indian average. With an average annual rainfall as high as 467 inches, Meghalaya is one of the wettest places on the planet and naturally has dense tropical and subtropical forests. However much the climate may strengthen the wildlife and greens here, a slight human-made interference or climatic change would adversely affect the delicate balance of these biomes.
The Khasi Hills, incidentally, are India’s first REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) project—a UN-supported initiative that aims to save the earth’s forests and enable local, tribal communities in the process. The project began in Mawphlang in the year 2007 intending to revive the dense forest cover and to check that its produce was left untouched.
By 2011, the conservation project had spread from the village of Mawphlang to 10 other Himas or “kingdoms” in 62 villages in the East Khasi Hills district. From a small village project, the impact could be seen in over 3500 households
This is really a great initiative by the tribes of Meghalaya in reviving thousands hectares of barren land.