Project Silva Amicus: Sustainable Solution to forest fires
Our team ‘Silva Amicus’ interviewed the Deputy Commissioner of Forests, Pune District, Mr. Mohan Dhere, to inquire about the current dangers that the forest rangers have to deal with while protecting our precious forests. During our interview we identified that the Baramati forests were quite vulnerable to forest-fires. Trivial incidences such as throwing half-lit cigarettes set a major portion of the forest ablaze. Thus, we aimed to develop a sustainable solution to tackle this problem of forest fires.
We initiated a local survey in the Baramati district to understand the current perspectives of the locals on the issue. We were able to discern the difference in perspectives of the locals from the city dwellers to realize that the locals were willing to actively cooperate and participate in our project to protect the local forests.Hence, we initiated research to come up with sustainable solutions, while keeping the aspects of limited resources and sustainability in mind. We narrowed down to the ‘Sindi’ method of protecting forests. This measure of protecting forests involved setting the area around the edge of the forests deliberately on fire with a tire and by using leaves of ‘Tadi Mari’ tree to put the fire off. Now that the area bordering the forest is in ashes, it becomes less susceptible to spreading forest fires owing to the negligence of the individuals travelling by the road adjacent to the forest.
We addressed a crowd of locals explaining to them the challenge at hand and the solution that we could sustainably implement provided that they participate in the intervention on a periodic basis. Accordingly, we went to the forest area and with the help of the local forest rangers, we personally demonstrated to the locals how the ‘Sindi’ method worked. Impressed by the effectiveness of the method and the low resources it involved the locals pledged to follow up the process periodically, while we setup a monitoring study to constantly evaluate our progress and its effectiveness. Over time we observed that this method reduced forest fires owing to the human-centric factors by 40% and also imbibed greater consciousness amongst locals regarding forest protection.