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Project Name: Strengthening River Bunds on the Sellipet-Gingee River Bank of Pondicherry

Location: Puducherry, India

Number of Trees: 64,000

For the third straight year, American Forests is working with Resource Institute of Social Education (RISE) to help reverse environmental degradation in Puducherry, India and to mitigate climate change.  This year’s project, Strengthening River Bunds in the Sellipet-Gingee River Bank of Puducherry, will be planting over 64,000 trees on the banks of Gingee River using more than 10 species of native trees. The planting will help restore the health of the riparian area, as increased tree cover on the riverbanks will stabilize the soil, reduce erosion, filter water to improve quality, help recharge groundwater, and keep water temperatures cool. RISE will conduct both water quality and ground water level tests before and after the tree plantings to show the improvements the project will have on their environment and community.  The project will also help local communities adapt to the localized effects of climate change, which will produce hotter and drier conditions as well more intense rain events.  Trees will help reduce the severity of these conditions.

This project works to improve the community’s well-being as much as the local ecosystem. RISE will educate the local community on the importance of the newly planted trees, and how the trees will improve people’s lives and the surrounding environment. Volunteers will be recruited and trained to help establish an environmental awareness program, which includes an Eco-club, door-to-door campaign, street plays, public meetings, social events and celebrations. RISE will also promote their work through a number of festivals – key activities and celebrations will be held on World Forest Day, Earth Day, and World Environment Day. The year will culminate with a Forest Festival to be followed by the official handing over of the forest to the community.

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