How a ‘tree mortgage’ scheme could turn an Indian town carbon neutral

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Kerala villagers are reaping the benefits of a scheme that pays them to leave their trees rooted, reducing risk of deforestation

In the misty, hilly terrain of Wayanad, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the people with any access to land in the quiet town of Meenangadi have been out counting their trees.

Sheeja CG, a 46-year-old farmer, has lived among coffee, coconut and pepper plantations all her life but last month she increased her income dramatically by mortgaging 53 of her trees at the local bank, in return for a sum of 2,650 rupees (£26.96), or 50 rupees each. She was one of the first beneficiaries of the state-sponsored scheme.

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