How Planting a Tree has Saved these African Communities

TreeSisters’ philosophy is different: local, community-based reforestation with native trees in the tropics. In Madagascar, the charity is helping Eden Reforestation Projects replant lost mangrove and dry deciduous forests on the north-west coast. Mangroves are a wonder-tree for local and global ecosystem services; they protect human communities from coastal floods but also filterriver flows out to sea and prevent soil washing into the ocean and destroying coral reefs. In the project’s first year, eight people planted 100,000 mangroves. Now Eden employs more than 1,000 people to plant trees, with 225m new mangrove trees planted since 2006. A similar emphasis on reforestation for local people is driving the restoration of deforested Mount Kenya. Local charities such as Mount Kenya Environmental Conservation work with local women to establish small nurseries of native trees at the forest fringe. The sales of these tree seedlings provide the groups with an income, which is then distributed as loans to help women’s farms and businesses. Native trees are planted directly into deforested areas, while a new scheme enables local people to temporarily grow potatoes in reforested areas, the cultivation helping native trees grow free of weeds for their first few years.SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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