In India, population growth and rapid i ndustrialization concurrent with an everincreasing quest for better quality of life have resulted in a growing demand for energy and infrastructure, leading to significant impact on the country’s environment and ecology. Resources such as natural forests are particularly exploited through agricultural expa nsion, timber extraction, monoculture plantations, rail and road networks, hydroelectric projects, mineral exploration and mining. Apart from these, the Indian forests form the livelihood base for nearly 173,000 villages1. The consequences of overe xploitation of forest resources include depletion of natural resources, soil erosion and land degradation, lower productivity, groundwater depletion, reduction in species diversity and an overall increase in the extent of wasteland. At present, it is estimated that approximately 68.35 million hectares (m ha) of the total geographic area of our country is considered as wasteland, of which nearly 50% of the land is degradednon-forestland2.