Growing trees outside forests (ToF) presents a significant environmental and economic opportunity in India. Nearly 80 million hectares (Mha) of these trees could sequester 3.4 gigatons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (Gt CO2e) by 2040 to help India achieve its international climate commitments. It can also support food and livelihood security for rural India, especially for its poor and vulnerable groups.

India has several enabling policies and schemes that embed a range of monetary and non-monetary incentives for scaling up ToF through interventions such as agroforestry. We analyze incentives implementation in the six states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, and Telangana to identify enabling conditions that can spur ToF expansion as well as the barriers that impede implementation.

Based on our analysis, we propose developing landscape-level restoration strategies and plans, reorienting or shifting incentives to protect, promote, and improve research on traditional ToF systems, targeting the needs of women and marginalized groups who are disproportionately dependent on multipurpose trees, and improving the enabling environment for existing incentives to motivate farmers and other practitioners to protect and expand ToF systems.