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Team Name: Anantara

IDEAS Project Pitch: Lantana Camara was brought to India from South America as a garden plant in the 19th century. Since then this invasive species has spread like a cancer through the forests of the Western Ghats in India. Over 48% of the endemic species have been lost due to its unchecked spread. This rapid degradation of forests is exacerbated by the rampant poverty that plagues its forest dwelling tribals who are constrained to the lowest end of the value chain as non-timber forest produce collectors. Severely under-compensated and left without any other form of economic activity for most of the year, collector-only economies maximise their income through a sustained maximum short-term collection. Tribals thus abandon their rich culture of forest stewardship and pursue an unsustainable harvesting practice that results in forest degradation.

Anantara addresses the dual challenges of forest degradation and limited economic opportunities in the Western Ghats in India by helping indigenous forest communities create luxury designer furniture from a rapidly invasive plant (Lantana Camara). We provide the training, marketing and partnerships that ultimately leads to livelihood creation and the restoration of the degraded forest areas.

Sectors: Energy & Environment, Arts & Fashion

Project Location: Bangalore, India