Planting and replanting: Continuity and change over 50 years of tree planting in Himachal Pradesh, India.

Authors: Forrest Fleischman*, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Pushpenra Rana, University of Illinois , Harry Fischer, Swedish University of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Vijay Ramprasad, University of Minnesota, Claudia Rodriguez Solorzano*, University of Minnesota
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Development, Land Use and Land Cover Change
Keywords: Tree planting, REDD+, India, forest governance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Senate Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Global policies are increasingly encouraging national governments in the developing world to increase investments in forest restoration with the goal of increasing the provision of ecosystem services from degraded landscapes. However in many parts of the world, coordinated afforestation programs have been going on for decades, and it is imperative that we learn from the experiences of these past programs to understand the potential range of outcomes of afforestation programs. In this paper we analyze 50 years of government records from the forest department of the Indian Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. We show that, contrary to global narratives about increased investments in forest restoration, the number of trees planted and number of acres treated in Himachal have declined from their high in the 1980s and 1990s. Furthermore, over this period, species composition has shifted from a focus on timber producing species (e.g. Pinus roxburghii) towards a more diverse set of native broadleaf species, which reflect local preferences for the production of firewood, fodder, and other non-timber forest products and ecosystem services. At the same time, the number of programs sponsoring tree planting has proliferated, reflecting the increasingly fragmented nature of forestry funding in India, as well as the ways that tree planting has been framed as the solution to a growing number of problems, ranging from poverty alleviation to climate adaptation.

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