Lantana camara, an exotic weed of South American origin is invading different forest areas and posing a serious threat to native vegetation in Western Ghats including Siruvani area (part of Tamil Nadu Forest Department). There is pressing need to control the invasion of this weed which is affecting biodiversity of native vegetation in different forest areas. The Forest Department is looking for different options for management of this notorious invasive weed with community participation. In this project the so-called tribal community is involved in mechanical control of Lantana by manually cutting and uprooting and at the same time this Lantana wood is utilized to develop sustainable livelihood options for the community. The tribal community is being trained in making value added products such as low cost furniture, handicraft, toys and other utility articles using Lantana wood.
For more information about the project and the products, visit http://www.lantanafurniture.org
During the last six months training on lantana furniture making was provided by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment organization (ATREE) to 50 tribals in Singampathy and Kalkotipathy hamlets for 60 days. Because of the success in two villages, a new 45-day program to 10 tribals in Sakarporathy was provided in November 2016.
The assignment comprises the market oriented design of funiture in an effort to expand the markets and increase the production, and it comprises also improving the processing and production and finally making and implementing a realistic business plan for this income generating activity for the tribes of the two involved villages.
This assignment is also part of the Amrita Live-in-Lab program (see number 14).
Who are we?
We, Job, Duco and Elsbeth are going to work on the Live-in-Labs project regarding Lantana Furniture. Job and Duco both study Systems Engineering Policy Analysis & Management, where Job is specified in Tranpsport and Logistics and Duco in Energy and Industry. For the project they will mostly do the marketing research and focus on the logistics and transport of the furniture and the wood. Elsbeth studies Industrial Design Engineering and for this project she will mostly be responsible for designing Lantana products.