Maharashtra - The giant jewel
Make your way up the west coast spine of India and that’s where you’ll find the sprawling modern state of Maharashtra – India’s third largest and second most visited region.
From its emerald shores, this giant mass of lush terrain stretches across the Western Ghats mountain range, and down into the bustling centre of India’s parched heart, leaving behind a framework of ancient temples, rugged caves, and oases of tropical forest.
Unlike most of India, much of the forest in this region is privately owned, which means that the trees are not protected from felling by law. As a result, there is nothing stopping landowners from cutting the trees down if they are in need of extra income.
Because of this, Maharashtra’s precious forest cover is under increasing pressure; its natural beauty and wildlife threatened: many bird and animal species make their home in Maharashtra (including tigers, bison, wild deer, and sambas); whilst herbs such as haritaki and bibhitaki – two of the three fruits used in our famous Triphala formula – grow wildly here.
Over the years, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks have been established to protect species but protection by the Indian Government has been poor given the ecological demise at hand. It has been left to NGOs, such as the global charity WWF and the local NGO AERF, to take significant steps to conserve the Maharashtra’s majestic forests.
But, as with any type of conservation, more can always be done. As herb lovers, it’s our passion to help protect plant species; which is why we’re doing our bit for Maharashtra with our FairWild collection programme.
Through our FairWild scheme local people are given financial incentives to protect trees that can provide them with a regular and sustainable source of income instead of cutting them down to make their living.
It’s a valuable livelihood alternative for the villagers and we hope more schemes like it will, one day, spread across Maharashtra to help preserve this remarkable biodiversity jewel.