Plantation of Elephant Food Plants and Natural Barrier Plants, Assam, India
Human-elephant conflict is a problem in many villages in Assam. In addition to food crops, forests are being logged for their timber, fuel or cleared to make space for cash crop plantations such as rubber. As elephant habitat diminishes, the elephants are pushed into increasingly smaller areas causing the shortage of wild forage which results in elephants leaving the forest in search of food. Affected villagers proposed they revive the degraded habitat of wild elephants by planting elephant food plants in the existing habitat, and planting natural barriers of thorny plants – Assam lemon and thorny bamboo – between the forest and fields to protect the cultivated areas. In addition to protecting the cultivated fields, the barrier of lemon and bamboo provided additional income and fuel wood to the villagers.