Lira, Uganda

Tree Planting in Uganda

As is the case in many African countries, deforestation in Uganda is growing at an alarming rate. Unbelievably, if deforestation in Uganda continues at its present rate there would be no forests left in the country in 40 years. The situation is partly to be blamed on Uganda’s massive population growth which has increased demand for agricultural land and firewood energy for cooking. Many live below the poverty level and are forced to use the forest resources to sustain their livelihoods. Coupled with the fact that they have no ability to invest in sustainable land practices has made the depletion of the forests become inevitable.

Climate change has also had a major impact on deforestation. The resulting rising temperatures increase water loss from soils and plants, thereby destroying seedlings and crops. Degradation of water-shed areas is leading to deterioration of the quality of life as farmers struggle to adapt to the rapidly changing and increasingly erratic weather and to produce enough food to feed their families.

The planting of your gift tree in Uganda will be performed in Lira in the northern part of the country and will be one of several varieties including Mango, Avocado, Papaya, Grevillea robusta, Albizia chinesis, and Leucaena. The population will also receive training in how to plant these fast-growing, multi-purpose trees in living fences that will serve to protect their forest garden sites. These trees will help to increase the water filtration capacity of soils on farmer fields and help shade the ground from the effects of evaporation. The result will be overall improved soil moisture and increased groundwater supply. This planting will positively impact water availability for because it will help to recharge groundwater while also contributing to improved soil moisture. Taken together, these steps will improve agricultural yields in Lira’s dryland and help these impoverished communities raise their standard of living.

Cameroon

The rainforests in the Gulf of Guinea area of Cameroon are hotspots of biodiversity. They house not only one of the oldest woodlands on Earth, but also a unique plant world of 620 species of trees and bushes, and 500 kinds of herbs and lianas (a woody climbing plant that hangs from trees). Rare primates and chimpanzees live in the region, as well as forest elephants, gorillas, and leopards. Many animal and plant species can be seen only here and nowhere else in the world. The forest of Cameroon has been the destination of many researchers and tourist from the world due to its biodiversity.

Unfortunately, deforestation in Cameroon is rampant, averaging about 550,000 acres per year. The alarming rate of deforestation in this region is due to the economic value of the forest, specifically timber products. Deforestation in Cameroon is so serious that individuals have cut down large trees that have been standing for decades for little or no reason at all. Many believe the forest is meant to be exploited or cut down to meet their needs. Bush burning and unsustainable logging are very widespread, and many believe forest resources, including the timber and non-timber products, are inexhaustible, and that what they get from the forest is too minimal to make a difference.

Your gift tree planted in Cameroon use agroforestry techniques to create living fences and alley crops that will protect their lands and increase soil fertility and crop yields, reduce erosion, and improve water infiltration. In addition, trees are planted in watersheds to contribute to groundwater infiltration and carbon sequestration, thereby helping negate the effects of climate change. As with a number of our other projects, educating community members, especially the youth, as to the long-term benefits of trees goes along with the tree planting. Most of these individuals have no knowledge of proper land management techniques, but this training will be a significant factor in the fight against deforestation.

Senegal

Tree Planting in Senegal

In Senegal, rural populations rely on forests for their livelihood (food, energy, health). However, the vegetation cover is deteriorating under the mounting pressure of farming and firewood gathering. Over the years, intensive groundnut cultivation has depleted the soils and led to a drop in agricultural production.

Agroforestry, agriculture incorporating the cultivation and conservation of trees, is critical so as to reverse deforestation and restore soils depleted by decades of groundnut cultivation. Planted by and for the local farmers, the trees protect their fields and secure their crops.

Your gift tree planted in Senegal include mango, jatropha, lemon tree, eucalyptus, and moringa species planted around the crop fields enabling farmers to protect the subsistence crops associated with them (sorghum, millet, groundnut) and thus to secure food for the villagers. The tree planting also enables local communities to diversify their sources of energy (biofuel and green electricity) and increase their income through the sale of fruit or manufacture of soap. An additional benefit of this project has been educating school children and raising their awareness to the fact that trees and forests are a major issue in the region and thereby hoping to make these students the trees best defenders in the future.

Antsiranana, Madagascar

Tree Planting in Madagascar

Madagascar is a huge island nation, the fourth largest island in the world, located off the southeast coast of Africa. Madagascar split from the Indian peninsula approximately 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90 percent of its plants, primates, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are found nowhere else on earth. The island’s diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population and other environmental threats.

The project in Madagascar is both a reforestation of a degraded forest and a community nursery. It takes place on the Masoala Peninsula located in the northeast part of the island. This area is rich in a great diversity of endemic fauna and flora due to its huge size and variety of habitats. Altogether, the peninsula contains tropical rainforest, coastal forest, flooded forest, marsh, and mangrove. Unfortunately, during 2009 and 2010, the area was invaded by thousands of illegal loggers searching for rosewood.

The planting of your gift tree in Madagascar will help plant 11 varieties of native trees, including eucalyptus, acacia, grevillea (a type of oak), giroflier, cocoa tree, and coffee trees. The nursery production is open to local inhabitants who will plant fruit-producing trees. The yield from these trees will provide the participants with a marketable product and thereby promote the local economy. The remaining trees will be of a fast-growing variety that will help with afforestation, the establishment of a forest where there previously was no tree coverage, helping reduce pressure on the wild forest by creating an energy source for the local population.

India

While India has experienced a slight uptick in its total forest coverage recently, there are still areas of the country that are experiencing deforestation. Much of the loss of trees is due to economic growth the country is experiencing as a whole, and the need to access water sources. Shifting cultivation is another reason for deforestation in parts of the country. Shifting cultivation is a form of agriculture in which an area of ground is cleared of vegetation and cultivated for a few years and then abandoned for a new area until its fertility has been naturally restored. As the prosperity of the Indian people grows, this increases the need for agricultural activity which leads to more shifting cultivation.

Your planting of a gift tree in India will typically be of Red Sandalwood, Teak, and Vengai varieties in the region of Vengal, in the southern part of the country. Not only are we planting trees in India, but farmers are also being trained in best tree planting methods, nursery preparation, farm conservation and finance, and irrigation management. They also learned methods and techniques to protect trees to withstand local climatic conditions and thus helped to ensure the newly planted trees’ long-term survival. This social forestry education, coupled with an increase in technology literacy, also allows for job growth in the region, and the ability to earn a sustainable income.

Morocco

Planting trees in Morocco

The Gifted Tree is planting trees in isolated areas of Morocco in order to allow the economic development of small communities. A few years back, local villagers decided to learn the techniques of permaculture (sustainable agricultural production, respectful of the fauna, the flora and the local populations), and to find maintainable and collective solutions regarding agriculture. Based on this knowledge, villagers now need to plant new fruits trees, which are essential to their food and to their revenues. In this context, The Gifted Tree helps villages to reach self-sufficiency.

Your planting of a gift tree in Morocco will include a variety of fruit and nut-bearing trees such as fig, quince, pomegranate, apple, lemon, olive, apricot, orange, pear, and walnut. Besides the actual planting of your tree, villagers also learn methods and techniques to protect trees to withstand local climatic conditions and thus help to ensure the newly planted trees’ long-term survival. This social forestry education, using permaculture principles coupled with directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in the Moroccan natural ecosystems through an increase in technology literacy, also allows for job growth in the region, and the ability for villagers to earn a sustainable income.

Sumatra, Indonesia

Tree Planting in Indonesia

Today, Indonesia is the most deforested country in the world. The Indonesian forest disappears twice as fast as the Amazon forest: the equivalent of the surface of a soccer field is destroyed every ten seconds. The northern province of Sumatra is particularly affected by deforestation. In 1987, the province had 500,000 acres of mangroves. Today, there are less than half of them left.

This massive deforestation is mainly due to the replacement of mangroves by palm oil trees. The palm oil trees do allow for the production of palm oil, an important financial source for the country, but it threatens the rich biodiversity of Indonesian forests, which shelter 10% of the world’s plant species, 12% of mammalian species, 16% of reptile species and 17% of bird species.

Your gift tree planted in Indonesia will be one of five different species of mangroves helping to reforest the area and enrich the diversity of the species. Its effects will be multiple. One will be in preserving biodiversity as the mangrove forest is an ecosystem essential to the life of many animal and plant species. Second, it will help fight climate change as mangroves retain 10 times more carbon than other tropical forest trees allowing the capture of large amounts of greenhouses gases. Third, mangroves act as a natural protection against soil erosion and therefore help protect the coastline and coastal communities. Finally, the mangroves have a positive economic benefit to the population allowing for the development of sustainable fisheries and producing natural ink and different foods.