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Story Publication logo November 30, 2021

'We are Being Deprived of our Land': In India, People are Victims of Reforestation (French)



To fight climate change, India claims it is increasing its forest cover. But the control mechanism...

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This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit Reporterre. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

Devjit Nandi helps tribal people assert their rights against Campa, India. Image by Côme Bastin. India, 2021.

Under the canopy, a giant spider waits for its prey on its web, multicolored butterflies flutter between the plants, a stream flows gently among the trees. A unique landscape, bound to disappear. It is here, in the heart of the forest of Mollem, in the south of the state of Goa (India), that the famous environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar has given us an appointment. "This jungle has hundreds of thousands of trees, which produce oxygen, lower temperatures and provide a home for wildlife. However, it is now threatened", he tells us, facing the Western Ghats mountain range, which marks the border of this state and whose biodiversity is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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In 2020, in the middle of this primary forest, the Indian government gave the green light to the construction of a high-voltage line, a highway and the widening of a railroad line (to transport coal). A monster project, which meets a strong opposition from the field, like the NGO Goa Foundation or the movement "Save Mollem", which has become a symbol in the country.

Deforestation at work in the protected forest of Mollem, Goa. Image by Côme Bastin. India, 2021.

Aerial view of the Zuari River, east of the Mollem Forest, where trees have been cut down for the mining industry. Image by Abhisek Sarda, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. India.

Sign indicating that the "Campa River Development Fund has planted 27,500 trees on 25 hectares in 2020". Image by Côme Bastin. India.

A plantation in the state of Chhattisgarh, India. Image by Côme Bastin. 2021.