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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live off the land in a forest?

Take the journey
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Step into the forest and learn about a community that lives alongside nature

Come with us to Chhattisgarh
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Chhattisgarh state in India is called the ‘rice bowl’ due to its bowl-shaped landscape and the indigenous varieties of rice that grow there. The Northern and southern regions are covered with dense forests and hills.

Many communities here depend on the land and forest for their incomes.
If the natural environment is threatened, their livelihoods are threatened too.

See what they create
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People from the Baiga tribes are known for their knowledge of traditional healing and treatments with herbal medicines. Many are skilled craftspeople who make their own tools and materials -such as kitchen tools and baskets- from wood and bamboo.

Bamboo baskets are sold in the local villages, especially during local festivals.

The journey to the forest
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The money earned from selling their baskets is not enough to support a family.

Families often work together to farm a small plot next to their house. This gives them an additional source of income.

Explore the forest
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The nearby forest is also an important source of income and food for families because it provides fruit they can sell or eat.

Explore the treetops
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People work together to collect the fruits from the trees.

Harvest the fruits
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The forest is a form of natural capital for these families, and they use methods that have been passed down through generations.

Bringing food home
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They sell the fruits and other non-timber forest products at the nearby local market.

However, in this remote region the market linkages and opportunities to sell products to other buyers are limited.

Go to the market
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As the forest fruits are sold without being cleaned or graded, the families do not get the best prices for their produce.

If they work together in village collectives, they can increase market opportunities and their income.

View over the land
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Forests are home to the widest variety of plant and animal life on earth. They provide drinking water and medicines as well as produce that people can sell or eat.

But here’s the problem
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But many forests -like the one you just visited in Chhattisgarh- are under threat.

Clearing forests to create more land for agriculture, intensively growing single crops and exhausting groundwater for irrigation degrades soils and ecosystems.

And when land is degraded, tribal communities living off the land become more vulnerable. Ecological degradation is one of the root causes for poverty.

See what we are doing about it
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The IKEA Foundation and Commonland are working together to restore landscapes and help communities improve their livelihoods.

Through this project, we will create a healthy landscape that supports regenerative agriculture and provides families with food, water and employment. We will also share what we learn along the way, so others can adopt the same approach.

It is one of the ways the IKEA Foundation is working toward a world where people and planet thrive together.

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