1983 & on going
Dungarpur used to be forest rich region with almost 64% of its region covered under the arid forests with a very rich wildlife. Pressures of industrialization, growth of population and to some extent the government negligence the forests depleted at alarming rates and created a drastic situation for the tribal community. The forest cover reduced to a meager 4% in 1980s. There was a time, not very long ago where the tribal would by only three things from the market – Matchbox, clothes & salt, remainder came from forest, also called as Rookda Bawsi, can be translated as tree God.
The dedication and understanding towards preservation of the forests was explored and exploited with identification of minor projects for forestry, where the community identified the lands that can be developed into community forest. The lost of these forests had definitely created a panic and chronic loss of resources among the local community, the community needed direction of how to re-grow what they had. After spending months talking to the communities, common wasteland amounting 3500 hectares were identified and developed as village level forests. 48 sites were replenished with plantations across 43 villages. About 19 lakh Saplings were planted on these lands. These micro forests ensured fuel, fodder and timber supplies to local communities therefore managed, maintained and protected by them. The community also started plantation on their private lands and ended up creating plantations in about 500 hectares of land, planting about 9 Lakh saplings across 58 villages.
PEDO also organized many campaigns against the deforestation of exiting forests and apathy of government towards these forests. This has led to better vigilance and check on felling of trees in the forests.