Holistic Habitat Healing

Our Vision

Environmental Empathy and Eco-Civilization

Our Mission

Ecosystem Restoration through Familial Forestry

What is Familial Forestry

Familial Forestry is a concept that integrates trees as integral members of the family, fostering societal engagement in forestry and conservation activities, contributing to the development of an ecological civilization. By considering trees as green family members, this approach encourages environmental sensitivity and empowerment, shaping individuals as environmentally connected stakeholders. The concept aims to make families climate-sensitive and proactive, incorporating rituals and festivals with trees into the social structure.

In the north-western region of Rajasthan, where Familial Forestry has been implemented for over one and half decade, hundreds of thousands of students and villagers have acquired skills in proper plantation and post-plantation care. This initiative not only enhances climate awareness but also addresses issues of hunger and malnutrition by promoting the plantation of fruit plants at home. Family trees serve as nesting places for birds and insects, contributing to increased biodiversity.

Familial Forestry complements social forestry schemes by focusing on regaining ecological functioning and improving human welfare across deforested or degraded forest landscapes. Emphasising the importance of diverse native tree species, it contributes to forest landscape restoration, involving communities in mutually beneficial interventions for landscape improvement. The long-term perspective of Familial Forestry, grounded in a strong attachment to trees and the environment across generations, accelerates the accumulation of forest-related knowledge, ensuring well-being and sustainability for local communities through sustainable forest management.

Acknowledging the pressing issue of increased CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere, Familial Forestry serves as a bottom-up approach to climate action. Directly involving communities, especially the younger generation, it has been successfully replicated in 1.6 million families across more than 18,000 villages in the arid region of western Rajasthan over the last two decades. This effort has led to the development of 200 Institutional Forests and the planting of over 4 million saplings in various forms making Familial Forestry synonymous with environmental activism in the area.

To enhance the holistic habitat healing methodology, Familial Forestry actively incorporates rituals and festivals with trees, fostering a cultural connection to nature and promoting sustainable living practices. This approach contributes to the overall well-being of ecosystems, communities, and the environment.
Familial Forestry, as a holistic environmental initiative, significantly contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, Familial Forestry aligns with several SDGs, including:
  • SDG 2 – Zero Hunger: Familial Forestry plays a role in addressing hunger and malnutrition by encouraging the plantation of fruit-bearing trees at home. This contributes to local food production, providing families with a sustainable source of fruits and enhancing overall nutrition.
  • SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being: By promoting the plantation of fruit-bearing trees, Familial Forestry addresses SDG 3 by combatting malnutrition and enhancing overall health. The inclusion of fruits in daily diets contributes to improved nutrition and well-being.

  • Previous
    • SDG 4 – Quality Education: Through frequent visits to villages and active engagement with students, Familial Forestry imparts valuable knowledge and skills related to environmental conservation and sustainable practices. It contributes to environmental education, aligning with SDG 4.
    • SDG 5 – Gender Equality: Familial Forestry actively engages women as key stakeholders and champions, promoting gender equality (SDG 5). By involving women in forestry activities and decision-making processes, the initiative empowers them economically and socially, contributing to a more gender-inclusive approach to environmental conservation.
    • SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production: Familial Forestry supports SDG 12 by encouraging responsible consumption through the sustainable use of natural resources. The initiative promotes the consumption of fruits produced through local, environmentally friendly practices, aligning with the goals of responsible production and consumption.
    • SDG 13 – Climate Action: Familial Forestry directly addresses climate change by involving communities, especially the youth, in climate action. The initiative focuses on reducing carbon emissions through tree planting, fostering climate resilience, and promoting sustainable practices.
    • SDG 15 – Life on Land: The core of Familial Forestry lies in the restoration of degraded land and the promotion of sustainable land use practices. By actively engaging in afforestation and regenerating natural habitats, Familial Forestry contributes significantly to SDG 15, ensuring the conservation of terrestrial ecosystems.
    • SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals: Familial Forestry fosters community participation, creating partnerships between local communities, educational institutions, and environmental organizations. This aligns with SDG 17, emphasizing the importance of collaboration for the achievement of sustainable development.
      By addressing these SDGs, Familial Forestry emerges as a comprehensive approach that not only contributes to environmental conservation but also integrates social, economic, and educational dimensions for sustainable development.

    Institutional Forest

    The institutional forest concept extends Familial Forestry from individual households to the community level, establishing small and medium-sized forests in educational institutions and on abandoned or degraded public land. This initiative focuses on restoring abandoned and degraded areas by planting and supporting native species, promoting a Holistic Habitat Healing approach through Institutional Forestation. These forests aim to reinstate the natural balance of the area, engaging students and the local community in sustainable forest management practices, thus acting as catalysts for societal engagement in environmental conservation.
    Our inaugural institutional forest, the ‘Gandhi Institutional Forest,’ planted in 2013 on our college campus in Bikaner, spans 6 hectares and hosts 3000 trees of 100 different varieties, along with various desert grasses and other unique flora and fauna of the Thar desert.
    The largest among our institutional forests is the ‘Dev Jasnath Institutional Forest’ in Dabla Talab, Loonkaransar, Bikaner district, covering 84 hectares. Once a degraded area due to illegal strip mining, this expansive forest has been restored through community participation, thriving as a diverse native flora forest and providing a natural habitat for endangered species like Spiny-tailed lizards, Monitor lizards, Gazelle, Desert foxes, Jackal, rabbits, and various avian fauna.
    Successfully replicated in 200 rural schools and on public lands, the institutional forest model encourages community-based forestry practices, addressing sustainable land use, biodiversity conservation, climate change, and poverty reduction.
    The institutional forest model involves establishing community-managed forests and empowering local communities to actively manage and conserve forests. This model promotes sustainable land use practices, including agroforestry, reforestation, and soil conservation, enhancing ecological, social, and economic benefits for local communities.


    Implemented in the desert region of Rajasthan, the institutional forest model has proven successful in promoting sustainable land
    use practices, conserving biodiversity, and improving the livelihoods of local communities, leading to the development of climate change
    Key Benefits of Institutional Forests:
    1- Sustainable Land Use Practices: Promoting practices like agroforestry, reforestation, and soil conservation to conserve and
    enhance the health and productivity of forests and land ecosystems.
    2- Biodiversity Conservation: Contributing to biodiversity conservation by integrating native trees, herbs and shrubs into land uses.
    3- Improved Livelihoods: Enhancing the livelihoods of local communities through access to forest products and services, including firewood, non-timber forest products, and ecotourism opportunities.
    4- Community Participation and Empowerment: Fostering community participation and empowerment by involving local communities in forest management and conservation, instilling a sense of ownership and responsibility for the environment.
    5- Climate Change Resilience: Increasing resilience to climate change impacts by promoting the conservation and restoration of forests and natural areas, regulating local climates, and improving soil and water quality.
    6-Improved Governance: Enhancing governance by involving local communities in decision-making processes related to forestry and land use practices, ensuring sustainable practices align with local needs and priorities.
    In conclusion, institutional forests offer a range of key benefits related to sustainable land use, biodiversity conservation, improved livelihoods, community participation and empowerment, climate change resilience, and improved governance, following a Holistic Habitat Healing approach.


    Public Nursery

    Public nurseries are the indispensable part of Familial Forestry concept, that are meant for providing quality saplings free of cost to anyone. Familial Forestry activities develop small, medium and large size public nurseries as per the availability of resources and scope for the plantation. Nurseries are developed seasonally and permanently. Our permanent nurseries provide saplings through out the year. Our largest public nursery has capacity of 75,000 saplings at a time.


    It is assumed that the plantation actually grows but they often do not. Threats to newly planted saplings can range from worsening drought and fire to losses to the expansion of farming, and settlements to damage by termites, straw, and domesticated animals. Agroforestry minimises such losses as it is consistently supervised and taken care of by land owners. When Familial Forestry relates trees as green members it never means that must be within the house boundaries only. It can be on the roadside, on any public land, or on agriculture farms because this relationship is not bound to a particular place. We motivate farmers to consider trees as green guardians of their land and crops as it is the most cost-effective way to improve local ecosystems. This extension of forestry reduces pressure on forests, deep-rooted trees efficiently recycle nutrients, decrease surface run-off, nutrient leaching, and soil erosion, and improve microclimate, such as lowering soil surface temperature and reduction of the evaporation of soil moisture through a combination of mulching and shading, improve soil structure through the constant addition of organic matter from decomposed litter.


    Agroforestry is a sustainable resource to obtain fodder, timber, and fruits. Such contribution of agroforestry strengthens sustainable agriculture thus increases income and improves rural living in many aspects. Our public nurseries provide soil booster native species like Prosopis cineraria free of cost to farmers. Our KHET-KHET KHEJARI ( Prosopis cineraria to every Agri farm) drive has developed an understanding about the importance of native species in agroforestry practices.

    Holistic Habitat Healing

    Introduction: Habitat restoration is a critical endeavor in our quest to conserve biodiversity and protect our planet’s natural resources. While the concept of habitat restoration is well-established, my addition to this concept with a new term is #HolisticHabitatHealing, which represents a paradigm shift in how we approach habitat restoration, emphasizing a comprehensive and all-encompassing approach that considers various dimensions of ecosystem health, community engagement, and the incorporation of Familial Forestry.
    Comprehensive Approach: The term “Holistic” is at the heart of this approach. It implies that habitat restoration is not merely about fixing specific issues or planting a few trees. Instead, it encompasses a broader perspective, addressing the entire habitat as a cohesive unit. It recognizes that ecosystems are intricate webs of life where each component plays a vital role. To heal a habitat comprehensively, one must consider how all these pieces fit together.
    Ecosystem Health: “Habitat Healing” goes beyond the idea of restoration; it implies nurturing the overall health and functionality of an ecosystem. It recognizes that the components of an ecosystem are interconnected, and their well-being is interdependent. Therefore, the goal is not only to restore a specific area but to improve the overall health of the ecosystem, taking into account all niches, including aspects like soil quality, water availability, the well-being of both flora and fauna, and community connections.
    Incorporating Tradition and #FamilialForestry: Holistic Habitat Healing often integrates traditional practices and knowledge into the restoration process. Indigenous communities, for example, have long-held wisdom about how to interact harmoniously with their natural surroundings. By incorporating these traditions, habitat restoration can become culturally sensitive and sustainable. Additionally, Familial Forestry, a concept that involves individuals and families actively participating in tree planting and forest management, plays a pivotal role in the holistic approach. It ensures that communities are directly engaged in nurturing their environment, fostering a deeper connection between people and nature.
    Community Engagement: Engaging the local community is a fundamental aspect of Holistic Habitat Healing. It recognizes that for a restoration project to succeed, the community must be actively involved. This engagement fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility for the habitat’s well-being. It encourages people to become stewards of their environment and promotes a deeper connection to nature.
    Minimal Human Intervention: While not explicitly stated, the term implies minimal human intervention. “Healing” suggests a process that allows natural systems to recover and regenerate with minimal disruption. Instead of imposing our will on the environment, we become facilitators of nature’s ability to heal itself.
    Protection and Preservation: Finally, “Holistic Habitat Healing” underscores the importance of protection and preservation. It’s not just about fixing what’s broken; it’s about ensuring that the habitat remains healthy and resilient. It’s about safeguarding the natural world for future generations.
    Conclusion: “Holistic Habitat Healing” (HHH) is more than just a catchy phrase; it represents a shift in our thinking about habitat restoration. It encourages us to view ecosystems as interconnected wholes, to engage with local communities, and to incorporate traditional wisdom and Familial Forestry practices. Ultimately, it offers a promising path toward a future where our natural world thrives, and we coexist harmoniously with the environment. The attached photos of our restoration efforts on an 84 -hectare degraded and abandoned public land reflect the effectiveness of HHH.

    UN’s Land For Life award to Familial Forestry

    The land for life award is world’s highest award for land conservation and restoration. It’s given biennial by United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, an United Nations arm that works on land restoration and conservation. The Land for Life Award is designed to reward impactful holistic approaches and practices that contribute to land restoration and conservation through exemplary and innovative efforts, particularly highlighting the crucial interconnection between humanity and nature. The theme of 2021 award was “Healthy Land, Healthy Lives”.
    An eight-member international jury declared Familial Forestry from Rajasthan, India, winner of this year’s Land for Life Award because of its innovative land restoration and conservation method that promotes the well-being of communities and improves their relationship with nature. The jury was impressed by Familial Forestry’s achievements and how it relates a tree to the family, treating it as a green member of the family.

    About UNCCD
    The UNCCD is one of the three Rio Conventions—along with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
    The negotiation of the UNCCD was called for in Agenda 21, the program of action adopted at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, or Earth Summit).
    The UNCCD was adopted in Paris, France on 17 June 1994, entered into force on 26 December 1996. It is the only internationally legally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification. It has 197 parties, making it near-universal in reach.

    What UNCCD wrote about Familial Forestry
    This year’s Land for Life Award goes to Familial Forestry of Rajasthan, India, a unique concept of Shyam Sunder Jyani, Associate Professor for Sociology at in Rajasthan that relates a tree with a family, making it a green “family member.”
    Placing a family at the cornerstone of society, concept ensures the success of any social campaign.
    Familial Forestry means transferring the care of the tree and environment in the family so that a tree becomes a part of the family’s consciousness. More than a million families from more than 15,000 villages of desert-prone northwest Rajasthan in over 2.5 million saplings have been planted in the past 15 years, with the active participation of students and desert dwellers.

    About the Award
    Launched at the UNCCD COP (Conference of Parties) 10 in 2011, the “Land for Life Award” is considered as the world’s highest reward regarding land conservation and restoration.
    This year’s (2021) theme for the award was “Healthy Land, Healthy Lives”.
    To demonstrate that LDN is necessary and achievable, the Land for Life Programme engages in awareness raising and knowledge support. Every two years, the programme presents the Land for Life Award which aims to provide global recognition to individuals and organizations whose work and initiatives have made a significant contribution to sustainable development through sustainable land management (SLM).
    Familial Forestry Action-UNCCD

    Founder's Message

    हरित प्रणाम (Green Greetings ),

    My life’s singular mission is to foster environmental empathy and contribute to an eco-civilization. The concept of Familial Forestry, meticulously developed in 2006 after three years of dedicated conceptualization from 2003, embodies this overarching goal. Beyond advocating, I actively work as an activist on the ground, ensuring wider societal engagement with an empathetic approach.

    This initiative transcends trees, focusing on Holistic Habitat Healing, considering local grasses, herbs, shrubs, and bushes as equally vital. By associating rituals and festivals with planting and conservation activities, promoting millets, discouraging single-use plastic, restoring community lands, and championing agroforestry and sustainable living, we aim for a holistic impact.

    Integrating culture with nature, we actively work to motivate women for their optimum participation in familial forestry interventions, making it an inclusive green initiative. Additionally, we focus on educating students and desert dwellers about the local nuances of climate change and promoting native flora.

    This comprehensive approach propels us towards widespread green socialization, advancing us closer to realizing an Eco-Civilization. I express heartfelt gratitude to all green-minded individuals contributing with their minds, hands, and hearts to this endeavor.

    ShyamSunder Jyani
    Associate Professor of Sociology & Founder Familial Forestry

    ShyamSunder Jyani
    UN's Land For Life Award laureate,
    Associate Professor of Sociology
    Govt. Dungar Collage, Bikaner, Rajasthan