The Chipko movement was a turning point in the forest conservation efforts in India. During the 1970s, when reckless cutting of trees started affecting people's livelihoods, the villagers from Uttarakhand's Chamoli started hugging trees to prevent them from cutting. This movement, where women participated in large numbers, came to be known as Chipko andolan, with the word "Chipko" signifying a hug or embrace. The champions of the Chipko movement were local women - Gaura Devi, Sudesha Devi and Bachni Devi.
The Chipko Movement was triggered by a government decision to allot forest land to a sports goods company. The tipping point came when government on January 1974, announced the auction of 2,500 trees, overlooking the Alaknanda river.
In March, when the lumberjacks arrived, a girl who saw them informed the village heads. Women in large groups came out and stopped the lumbermen by hugging the trees despite being threatened.
The women put up a brave fight and kept night-long vigils for weeks until the woodcutters retreated.
The Chipko Movement followed Gandhian philosophy of peaceful resistance and was an uprising against the people destroying ecological balance.
Gandhian activist Sunderlal Bahuguna gave a direction to the movement and his appeal to Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, resulted in the ban of cutting trees. His appeal resulted in a 15-year ban on chopping of green trees in 1980.