Forest-dependent indigenous tribes across India are marginalized communities, struggling to make a living. One such community, The Soliga community, lives in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve (BRT) and Malai Mahadeshwara wildlife sanctuary (MM Hills). They have an average household earning is $1 a day.
ATREE has worked with the Soliga community for over 2 decades. During this time, ATREE noticed that the Soliga's ability to forage NTFPs significantly decreased, due to the spread of an invasive plant, Lantana camera.
To help increase income, ATREE piloted a program using lantana to make furniture. home accessories, and art installations. Although traditionally hunter-gatherers, the Soligas are incredible artisans. After receiving craftsmanship training, they have created these life-size elephants out of lantana (see video above). These art-installations have gone on to receive international acclaim.
ATREE’s innovation of converting lantana into livelihood generating products creates a win-win scenario. It improves tribal livelihoods while promoting forest biodiversity and conservation through the removal of lantana. We are restoring nature through craftsmanship.
A new centre at ATREE, The Centre for Social and Environmental Innovation (CSEI) is making lantana products more easily available. Now you can bring a piece of the forest into your home. Not only will it generate livelihoods for marginalised communities, but it will also improve the health of the forest.
This project is currently supported by