This Indian Forest Service officer is using technology to educate farmers

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2017

Eco-communication plays an integral role in influencing how people act. Effective design and communication helps them understand why there is a need to make environment-friendly choices in their day-to-day lives. In this way, eco-communication serves not only as a practical tool for action but also a guiding map for adoption of good practices.
Therefore, how well we communicate about the nature and environmental affairs plays an important role in how well we will address the imminent ecological crisis.

Ms. Sudha Ramen, a 2013 batch Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, has initiated one such innovative eco-communication tool in Tamil Nadu. The project called the Tamil Nadu Treepedia is a mobile application that has over 150 trees listed under 19 categories. Currently posted as the Deputy Director, Arignar Zoological Park, Tamil Nadu, she also received the Dr. Kalam Innovation in Governance Award in 2019 for her remarkable work in educating people about trees and plantation.

Ms. Sudha Ramen, a recipient of Kalam Innovation in Governance Award 2019

About the initiative

The Indian Government has come up with several missions like the Green India Mission and National Afforestation Program which primarily focus on increasing the tree cover through afforestation and other plantation activities. India has a rich repository of knowledge on Forestry, but what we lack is the access and linkages. The Tamil Nadu Treepedia project was aimed to bridge this gap between the resources and the people.

Launch of the Tamil Nadu Treepedia App

Not only do the farmers need to be educated about various tree species available for plantation, but tree-based industries should also be informed about native species. Here, the Forestry Department played a vital role in converting the opportunities related to unpopular trees species by using technological advancements. The project received a financial allotment of Rs. 18.4 lakh, which was used for data collection and development of Android and iOS mobile applications and webpages in both English and Tamil languages.  The project provides complete guidance on native trees to farmers and other interest groups.

How does the Treepedia App work?

Developed under the Tamil Nadu Innovative Initiatives (TANII) Scheme, Treepedia is an App that intends to make the choice of tree species for plantation easier for farmers, home gardeners, industries and individuals.

The mobile application makes available holistic information on plantation of trees, such as selection of the right species, planting seasons, pit sizes, espacement, disease treatment, post plantation care, harvesting, expected returns and other benefits. In order to promote diversity in plantation, the App mostly focuses on giving details about native trees that are not popular among the farmers. In this way, Treepedia collates all essential information related to Agro forestry, Farm Forestry and other kinds of plantation.

Beneficiaries can use the various options available in this application to narrow down to the right tree species that suit their requirements, like “Choose by Tree Species”, “Choose by Tree type”, “Choose by Location” and “Tree Finder”. 

User-friendly technology

Since findings of research studies hardly ever reach the farmers and other interest groups, the mobile application and web interface provide all the information they are looking for, right at their fingertips. Additionally, a dynamic dashboard has been developed to provide any later findings or to update the existing content at any point of time.

Workshop on how to use the App

The App is also designed to work in a offline mode, so that it remains an immediate guide to the farmer for raising trees.
Tamil Nadu Treepedia’s mobile application is well-received by the people and presently the project has a 4.6 star rating on Google Play Store with more than 250 comments.

 

(Content by Arushi Sharma)

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