One Sapling at a Time


In Bikaner, Rajasthan, northern India the landscape is mostly desert, making it a challenge to grow fruit bearing trees and other plants. In 2003, Professor Shyam Sundar Jyani and his students began working on some local neem trees, which were struggling. From this work, Shyam went on to found Familial Forestry in 2006, an organization that donates saplings of fruit bearing trees to villagers with the idea to ‘treat the tree as a family member.’ These trees provide shade to the families, food for them and for their livestock, and the seeds from the fruit can be used to grow more trees. To date, over 625,000 saplings have been planted in over 2,500 villages, utilizing a type of grafting that increase fruit yield and allows the trees to flourish with little more than natural rain water. Shyam was awarded for his exemplary services towards nature conservation by the President of India in 2012.

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