Conserving The Khasi Hills Community Forests

Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, India
Avoided deforestation
tonne / mo


This is the first community-based REDD+ program that will protect and restore 27,000 ha of cloud forest, in addition to preserving sacred groves and watersheds. Located in a global biodiversity hotspot, we aim to provide support, new technologies, and financial incentives to conserve existing forests and regenerate degraded ones. Another primary objective is to deliver long-term strategies to address extreme poverty facing rural families, by manufacturing and installing fuel-efficient cookstoves and plans to subsidize the majority of the 5,000 households in the project area. As a result of this, fuelwood consumption and indoor smoke pollution will be reduced, improving forest and family health.

Key benefits

🌻 Biodiversity conservation of unique flora, fauna, and montane cloud forest ecosystems.

🌳 Preservation of 500-year old sacred groves with ancient megaliths

👪 Alleviating poverty with new livelihood strategies and capitalizing women-run self-help groups.

🦥 Restoring and protecting a forest wildlife corridor

🚜 Support for sustainable animal husbandry and farming systems.

Avoided deforestation
Community Support
Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, India
Size (km)
271.39 km2
Size (ha)
27,139 ha.
Project owner(s)
Ka Synjuk Ki Hima Arliang Wah Umiam Mawphlang Welfare Society
Project coordinators
Ka Synjuk Ki Hima Arliang Wah Umiam Mawphlang Welfare Society
Plan Vivo
Markit Environmental Registry
Rainforest Alliance
Key supporters
Synjuk Federation, India Bethany Society, India CFI, USA
Technical document
Download here
Registry links
Visit site

Project story

Rural Khasi communities are concerned about deforestation that threatens upland watersheds, household livelihoods, while releasing substantial quantities of carbon. This community REDD+

project is slowing, halting and gradually reversing forest loss by providing institutional,

financial and technical support to allow communities to better monitor their forests, protect them against forest fire, regulate wood fuel collection, and regenerate and replant degraded forest lands. Through this REDD+ Project 62 villages are creating, restoring, and

protecting a forest wildlife corridor along the Umiam River, connecting sacred forests and

regenerating forest fragments at the landscape level.

As India’s first REDD+ strategy, the project provides a “proof of concept” for conserving

and restoring the country’s forests.
The project area has unique montane cloud forest ecosystems with 500 year old sacred groves riddled with standing stone megaliths that symbolize fallen warriors from ancient time and horizontal altar stones where rituals are still performed. The tradition of sacred groves in the project area has served as environmental protection for some of the old-growth forests, creating biodiversity “islands” and protecting the natural, clear streams.

The Khasi culture is matrilineal, with property rights transferred through the mother-line. This project represents a long-term strategy to address the extreme poverty facing rural families by supporting sustainable resource management, new livelihood opportunities, and capitalizing women-run micro-finance institutions.

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Social benefits
  • Supporting local livelihood diversification by providing microfinance grants to participating villages - 124 grants distributed during 2015 and 2016.
  • Microfinance initiatives including a pig-bristle production enterprise, the establishment of 77 tree nurseries, new piggeries and the distribution of kuroiler chickens, encouraging a shift to stall-fed animals in place of roaming cattle which degrade nearby forest.
  • Providing training for local youth, raising environmental awareness in schools and initiating a tree adoption programme for school children.
  • 62 Youth Volunteers are heavily engaged with project activities and participate in Local Working Committees to develop local management plans and inform future strategy.
  • Farmer's Clubs receive training and share knowledge on innovative agricultural and animal husbandry practices.
  • Supporting 52 women's Self-Help Groups that run microfinance initiatives such as tree nurseries that supply saplings for Assisted Natural Regeneration and Enrichment Planting activities. Excess seedlings can be sold as an additional source of income for communities.

Ecological benefits

  • Protecting the old-growth forest and the assisted regeneration of 5,000 ha of degraded forest protects critical watersheds, increases habitat connectivity for endangered wildlife and increases resilience to climate change.
  • 64 km of firebreaks constructed to reduce the incidence and lessen the effects of seasonal forest fires.
  • In-situ conservation of traditional medicinal plants in nurseries.
  • Working with communities to encourage no further expansion and future closing of mining concessions.
  • Increasing the capacity of local indigenous communities to formulate long-term climate change adaptation plans. Plans focus on protecting and improving forest cover, watershed hydrology and making the transition to more climate-resilient agricultural practices.
  • Ongoing community education and training programs create greater community awareness of climate change issues and natural resource management.

Project location

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