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WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.
Wildlife corridors are critically important spaces that can be incredibly diverse. Some wildlife corridors have lots of people, large agricultural spaces and infrastructure, while others have very few people and healthy forests. No two wildlife corridors look the same.
In tiger landscapes, wildlife corridors provide connectivity between protected areas for tigers who roam large distances to find food, a mate, or new territory. In the Central Indian Landscape, the Satpura-Pench corridor, farmers and communities have long coexisted with tigers. More recently, farmers and wildlife are benefitting from a regenerative agriculture project.
Regenerative agriculture looks to rehabilitate and enhance a farm’s entire ecosystem, focusing on soil health, water management, fertilizer use, and more. It's a method of farming that improves the resources it uses, rather than destroying or depleting them. As a result, farming is more sustainable, and biodiversity is protected.
The Satpura-Pench corridor is a mosaic of farm and forest land, where agriculture accounts for almost 40% of land use. The average landholding size is less than 5 acres (about twice the area of a Manhattan city block) per person and cotton farms are prevalent. Cotton is the backbone of the economy here, as India is one of the largest producers of cotton in the world.
Ensuring these crops supply a reliable income for communities but also help biodiversity across the wider landscape is challenging, but possible. A regenerative agriculture project is underway to make cotton farming in the Satpura-Pench corridor more profitable and sustainable for local communities. In collaboration with partners, WWF-India works with cotton farmers to support their transition to regenerative organic cotton farming practices.
STARTING FROM THE GROUND UP
The process starts by collecting baseline information from each cotton farm. WWF-India works with farmers to assess soil health, pollinator status, crop production, and overall income. With this data, farmers set achievable and realistic targets that over time will regenerate the soil, supporting better crop growth and increased production year over year.
Increased sustainable cotton production means more money for farmers and other benefits, including biodiversity. For instance, with global insect populations in decline, greater soil diversity can support insect conservation. Regenerative agriculture enhances biodiversity from the soil all the way up the food chain.
“Due to regenerative agriculture, my farm’s soil has become soft and the input cost has been reduced by more than 25%. I do not have to go to the market to buy fertilizers and pesticides as I can make them at home. Now, other farmers from my village also come to learn on my farm.”- Ramwati Bai Dhurve