Sikkim has come up with an unique way of preserving its natural reserve by forging a unique bond between the physical and the natural world. One of the cleanest and the greenest state in India, Sikkim in an attempt to make people understand the importance of the forest cover, came up with an innovative idea of encouraging people to form a relationship of brotherhood or sisterhood with the trees; in a practice Mith/Mit or Mitini.
A recent notification issued by the Forests, Environment and Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim titled Sikkim Forest Tree (Amity and Reverence) 2017 states that, “The State Government is willing to allow any person to associate with the trees standing on their land or any other public property to forge a bond and enter into a Mith/Mit or Mitini relationship.”
The notification also states that any person can adopt a tree as if it was their own child, in which case the tree shall be known as an ‘adopted tree’.
The third way in which a relationship can be formed between the tree and human is by preserving the tree in memory of a departed loved one, in which the tree will be known as a ‘smriti tree’.
If the tree is located in a public space, then accurate protocol is to be followed and proper permission is to be taken from the department.
The Sikkim Forest Department has issued specific forms for each of the clauses, which the willing person has to fill up and submit to the authorities. After the verification process is conducted by the Assistant Conservator of Forest, the tree is registered in the name of the person concerned.