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SIMPLIFIER: PRIVATE BIOSPHERE IN UTTARAKHAND



  Jun 14, 2024

SIMPLIFIER: PRIVATE BIOSPHERE IN UTTARAKHAND



Who are the environmentalists behind the Rajaji Raghati Biosphere?

Jai Dhar Gupta, a New Delhi-based entrepreneur and clean air activist, and Vijay Dhasmana, an ecologist known for restoring the Aravalli landscapes, are the key figures behind the Rajaji Raghati Biosphere project.

What is the Rajaji Raghati Biosphere?

The Rajaji Raghati Biosphere (RRB) is a 35-acre private forest initiative in Uttarakhand, located next to the Rajaji National Park. It aims to restore native plant species and protect the area from ecological degradation.

Why was the Rajaji Raghati Biosphere created?

The biosphere was created to combat deforestation, promote groundwater recharge, and restore native plant and animal species in a previously degraded and eroded landscape.

How did the land for the biosphere change over time?

Initially, the land was barren and degraded due to monoculture agro-forestry with non-native eucalyptus trees. Jai and Vijay removed the eucalyptus trees, reshaped the land to retain water, and prevent erosion, and began planting native species.

What efforts have been made to restore the biosphere?

Extensive surveys identified suitable native plant species. Seeds were collected, a seed bank was established, and collaboration with biodiversity parks facilitated the cultivation of saplings. Over 80 species were planted in the first phase, with more to be added in upcoming seasons.

What challenges were faced in creating the biosphere?

Challenges included land acquisition, regulatory compliance, and long-term sustainability planning. Collaborative efforts among governments, private entities, and local communities were crucial to overcoming these hurdles.

What is the ecological and community impact of the biosphere?

The project aims to restore a thriving forest ecosystem and create a harmonious cohabitation model. It relies on the knowledge and skills of the local nomadic Gujjar community and bans combustion-engine vehicles to protect the environment.

Are there future plans for more biospheres?

Yes, Jai and Vijay are working on a second biosphere project in the Western Ghats, above the Koyna River near Pune, Maharashtra. This project will feature different habitats, topographies, and flora.



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