Chapter 8.2 – Land Restoration and Community Trust: Keys to Combating Poverty: A Case Study from Rural Maharashtra, India

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By Jared Buono, Ecohydrologist, Mumbai, India and Jayashree Rao, Grampari, Maharashtra, India


Ecosystems around the world are being degraded by human activity, making them less capable of meeting the growing demand for resources. This is a threat for many rural, poor communities, as they tend to be directly reliant on local land and water resources and are often the sole stewards of the landscape. This makes ecological restoration and poverty eradication inextricably linked, necessitating ecological education and participatory approaches to economic development. This chapter details the authors’ experiences working in rural Maharashtra, India, on community-based land restoration initiatives at the village level. It explores the relationship between ecosystems and efforts to eradicate extreme poverty, as well as the ecological and programmatic imperative for a participatory and inclusive approach. Centered on the basic tenet that restoration initiatives will be more successful when trust is built among stakeholders, the challenges and opportunities for community engagement are discussed, including the importance of inclusive decision making, community immersion, and fostering local leadership. A community member’s first-person point of view is also included.


Download full chapter at ScienceDirect.

Further information

About the Authors

Dr Jared Buono

Dr Jared Buono is a Hydrologist at Gram Pari, Panchgani, India.

Watch Dr. Jared Buono’s speech on Springs and Groundwater Management on YouTube

Dr Jayashree Rao

Dr Jayashree Rao is the Executive Director of Grampari. Read about her story and how she came to set up Grampari.

Connect with Grampari and @Grampari.


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