Integrated Land Use Management to Combat Land Degradation and Deforestation in Madhya Pradesh


Madhya Pradesh encompasses a major part of the highlands of Central India and constitutes parts of the upper catchments of five principal river systems – the Yamuna, Ganga, Mahanadi, Godavari and Narmada. It is endowed with rich and diverse forest resources with forest types ranging from dry thorn, dry and moist deciduous to sub-tropical semi-evergreen and tropical moist evergreen forests.

Despite the thrust towards watershed development in the last decade, catchments continue to degrade and rates of soil erosion continue to be high in the State with negative downstream externalities. Unsustainable land management practices, especially deforestation and overgrazing, have been both cause and consequence of the livelihoods crisis among tribal and rural communities living in and around forest areas. In areas of intensive land use, soil erosion, forest degradation, and reduction of soil fertility in agricultural land have become increasingly evident.

Within this broader landscape, the project is focusing on five districts that are prominent for their combination of human poverty and fragile ecosystems -- Betul and Chhindwara in the southern part of Madhya Pradesh and Sidhi, Singrauli and Umaria in the eastern part of the state. The selected village clusters of the five target project districts have a forest cover of roughly 45-50% of geographical area, and are primarily located in dry deciduous zones, with high precipitation and temperatures. The rural landscape is highly susceptible to soil erosion, surface soil run-off, and seasonal floods owing to its characteristically undulating terrain, fragile geological conditions, and heavy rains.

Project details

The project aims to remove barriers to promoting sustainable rural livelihoods that are ecologically sustainable and provide a broader range of livelihood options for the tribal/rural poor. It will demonstrate how (i) unsustainable dependency on the forests and pasturelands can be reduced; (ii) ecosystem services can be sustained and agricultural productivity increased through sustainable practices so as to increase long-term food security and reduce poverty; and (iii) increased participation and empowerment of women and vulnerable and marginalized groups through a greater sensitivity to the participation constraints of these social groups can lead to more sustainable livelihood systems in the long term.

Climate-related hazards addressed: 
Level of intervention: 
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations: 
Madhya Pradesh Forest Department
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project status: 
Under Implementation

Key results and outputs

Outcome 1:    Creation of an enabling environment for climate-resilient, sustainable land and ecosystem management

  • Output 1.1    State-level policies on forest, agriculture, animal husbandry, watershed management, tribal welfare reflect climate-resilient, sustainable land and ecosystem management principles
  • Output 1.2    Community-based organizations and government staff is trained in promoting community-driven, climate-resilient, sustainable land and ecosystem management

Outcome 2:    Community-driven, climate-resilient approaches for sustainable land and ecosystem management are demonstrated in 4 micro-catchments

  • Output 2.1    Plans for rehabilitation and sustainable management of degraded bamboo areas in forest lands near target villages are developed and implemented.
  • Output 2.2    Plantations are established on degraded community and forest lands to improve the provisioning of ecosystem services to meet local fuelwood needs.
  • Output 2.3    Plantations are established on degraded community and forest lands to improve the provisioning of ecosystem services to meet local fodder needs.
  • Output 2.4    Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) based on sustainable harvest of other NTFPs are promoted
  • Output 2.5    Home gardens are promoted among landless farmers to meet subsistence needs
  • Output 2.6    Improved management of water resources at the level of micro/ milli watersheds, with particular emphasis on community mobilization in support of soil and water conservation structures and approaches that are adapted to climate change
  • Output 2.7    Rain fed agricultural practices are strengthened with people-friendly, cost-effective, climate-resilient technologies that can improve returns within the constraints of local agro ecological conditions

Outcome 3:    Capacities for adaptive management, learning and replication of project lessons are developed

  • Output 3.1    Community-based system for monitoring and assessment of impacts, as well as external evaluations of the project
  • Output 3.2    Documentation of lessons learned and preparation of information dissemination products which are geared to different audiences and are available in local languages.

Monitoring and evaluation

Project monitoring and evaluation will be conducted in accordance with established UNDP and GEF procedures by the project team and the UNDP Country Office (UNDP-CO), with support from UNDP-GEF


Doley Tshering
Regional Technical Advisor
Preeti Soni
UNDP India Climate Change Advisor
M. Thangamuthu
Project Manager (Nagaland)