Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, India

Khasi Hills is a 'synjuk' or federation of ten indigenous kingdoms, working cooperatively to protect and restore the forests and sacred groves.

Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, India

Khasi Hills is a 'synjuk' or federation of ten indigenous kingdoms, working cooperatively to protect and restore the forests and sacred groves.

Khasi Hills is protecting and restoring forests by reducing use of firewood, reducing forest grazing and fire damage and providing alternatives to mining.

27,100 hectares
area of project

trees planted each year

tonnes CO2



Meghalaya is an extra-ordinary place, a high mountain plateau, cut off from the rest of India, and made up of Khasi Indigenous Kingdoms where people still live close to the forests. There are long established Khasi traditions of community forest management, sacred groves and communal forests, and a unique flora and fauna. Rapid deforestation is occurring at a rate of over 5% per year throughout the East Khasi Hills, threatening upland watersheds, household livelihoods, while also releasing substantial quantities of carbon. The Project is reversing deforestation in the Khasi Hills.

The project is a model that could be widely replicated throughout other areas in Northeast India.

The Challenge

    Fire is a major issue in the Khasi Hills. The project has re-instated the Khasi tradition of the community clearing fire lines. 27 km of fire lines have been cleared. Little forest is now damaged by fire, while prior to the project, 50-100 hectares would burn each year. Closing parts of the forest to grazing by switching people to raising animals through stall fed systems.
    Khasi households are heavily dependent on fuel wood, with families using about 20 kg per day. Fuel wood consumption has outstripped forest growth. The project has focussed on fuel efficient stoves and is now promoting a model that can be constructed on site with locally available cement, rebar, and metal pipe.
    Khasi Hills has put in place a moratorium on surface mines & quarries – stone quarries and open-pit coal mines pollute streams and rivers and contaminate water supplies and fisheries.

Project Action



Project impact

27,100Hectares of forest

As well as the total area of forest in he project, The project includes 500 hectares of degraded forests have been closed to allow natural regeneration of native species while a further 500 hectares are being actively reforested.

177,252Tonnes CO2 sequestered

4000Families engaged

These families include over 25,000 people spread across 62 villages. The project has established, 8 community micro finance groups, 48 self help groups and 5 farmers clubs, benefitting over 500 farmers with training in sustainable agriculture.

2000Jobs created each year

As well as around 2000 seasonal workers who engage with the project, Khasi Hills employs 12 full time members of the core team, 24 community facilitators and 124 youth volunteers.

100,000Tree planted each year

Women’s groups have established dozens of home nurseries. Their goal is to plant 100,000 trees each year. 9 indigenous tree species are planted by the project. 3 main ones are: Alnus nepalenis - a nitrogen fixer for the projects agroforesty; Castonopsis indica - important for traditional Khasi rituals and for its high value nuts; and the Oak, Quercus Fenestrata - important for helping with soil water retention and acorns for animals.

What people say