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15,000 trees to combat desertification in Ethiopia

by WeForest
15,000 trees to combat desertification in Ethiopia
Thank you for your support
Thank you for your support

In the Seret region, a joint re-greening effort of the government, community and NGO´s works to stop land degradation, protect natural resources and improve food production. It does so mostly using “exclosures”: areas where livestock is not allowed, to rehabilitate degraded land.

WeForest works with this movement through the enriching of encroached exclosures using native trees. The project works in close collaboration with the local community and supports them with trainings on natural resource management programs, income generating activities and providing material support.
The project specially targets landless youth and women groups by engaging them in income earning scheme activities such as working with the beekeeping cooperatives and through paid field work activities.

Currently, 54 people are directly long term employed through their work at the nursery, guarding, seed collection, vegetation and soil monitoring activities and 459 farmers (287 female and 172 male) report an increased income through the project.
 

Reason why we want to take this project out of GlobalGiving?

For the project of Seret, we will be working with large corporates that have committed for multiple years. As this area especially benefits from a steady income flow, we prefer to continue with other projects for our individual GlobalGiving givers, such as in Brazil, India and Zambia.

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WeForest has various projects on GlobalGiving, including reforestation projects in Brazil, the Khasi Hills in India and in Zambia.

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10 millionth tree 3 years later
10 millionth tree 3 years later

WeForest is close to planting its 20 millionth tree.
Did you know that the 10th million tree was planted in the project that you support?


Indeed, the “African tulip tree” was planted in the Yewebesh village, Amhara, in November 2015.
After only three years, the tree has grown to 3.15 meters which is almost 6 times its original size!
Thanks to its many leaves, shading is provided in the training centre which is much appreciated by the local community members.
Thank you for planting millions of trees with us!

Your support enables training framers in agroforestry

Agroforestry is a system combining tree, livestock, crop and insects in a spatial way to boost agricultural productivity and maintain ecosystem wellbeing. 

In populated areas like the Machakel district which has limited land holding size, agroforestry practices are the best option to harness food production and satisfy household tree products need. From the beginning of 2018 until now, we have been able to select 263 interested model households to practice agroforestry in 6 villages. Together with your help, different cash crops, such as coffee and rhamnus, as well as fruit trees (avocado and apple) will be planted in farmers’ backyards as homegarden.

Agroforesty training for farmers
Agroforesty training for farmers
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Tree planting worker Weresech with her child
Tree planting worker Weresech with her child

Weresech is 32 years old, has 7 children and is one of the women directly benefiting from our work in the Seret village in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Weresech and her husband Gebreegziabhare own 0.5 ha of land, which is not sufficient to produce enough grain to feed their entire family throughout the year. To provide for their children and to be able to send their 3 eldest children to school, both of them must work outside of their farm.

Their farm is adjacent to a WeForest intervention site. Since 2017, Weresech has a regular job with WeForest, contributing to site preparation, planting, weeding and watering new seedlings.

Between July 2017 and January 2018 she earned about 1200 ETB from the project, which is enough to pay for school and part of the family’s health expenses. She proudly said: “I have directly planted and cared for over 250 new trees last year.” She will be working on planting activities again during the upcoming season, between July and January.

Weresech is also going to join our new beekeeping program for farmers. She said: “I am lucky to have been chosen for this program and sell the honey our beehives produce at a good price through our cooperative.” Last but not least, she and other villagers involved are starting to see the benefits of forest restoration itself. After protecting ‘exclosures’ from grazing and illegal logging, they can harvest grass and the soils are better protected from erosion and landslides when it rains.

Thanks to your support, we can continue engaging members of the local community like Weresech and keep adding to nearly 40 thousand trees we have already planted in Ethiopia Tigray. These trees directly restore more than 50 hectares of forest, which is expected to positively impact 700 hectares of land, bringing benefits to people, ecosystems and climate.

Seret exclosure in Tigray in spring 2018
Seret exclosure in Tigray in spring 2018
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Tree sapling planted in water saving gel
Tree sapling planted in water saving gel

Restoring Tigray’s dry Afromontane forest is a real challenge. In the dry season, which lasts around 9 months, there is serious water scarcity which makes it very difficult for young seedlings to survive.

To overcome this challenge, WeForest and the local team take several precautionary measures. We train community members in post-planting operations for watering and increasing survival, and we plant 10% more seedlings than the number of trees financed to compensate for the higher seedling mortality rates. In addition to that, we are testing a new method for increasing water availability for seedlings with water saving gels.

The gel is semi-synthetic and biodegradable. When it absorbs water, it expands up to 300 times its original size. The gel adheres to the roots of the plant and releases water when the soil moisture drops.

WeForest is testing the use of water saving gels in collaboration with Mekelle University and Ethiopian Bureau of Agriculture. If the tests are successful, the technology will be incorporated in our project management plans, making our impact on people, planet and climate even greater. Thank you for being part of this journey!

Small gel balls release water when soil is dry
Small gel balls release water when soil is dry
Degraded dry Afromontane forest in Tigray
Degraded dry Afromontane forest in Tigray
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Woman carrying tree saplings
Woman carrying tree saplings

In the highlands of Tigray in northern Ethiopia, land degradation exacerbates the negative impacts of frequent droughts and forces people to migrate to neighbouring cities and overseas in order to support their families. Two major causes of land degradation are deforestation and overgrazing. The Tigray government, local communities and WeForest joined forces in an effort to restore the infertile land through soil, water and forest conservation and planting new trees.

A crucial element in the restoration strategy is creation of exclosure zones, or "no go" zones. Degraded land is closed off from animal grazing and human interference to allow plant cover to naturally regenerate. Exclosures have been introduced to land management in Tigray in the 1990s and research shows that they provide a viable method for improving soil quality. After the communities show commitment to close off an area for a minimum of 5 years, and some vegetation and trees start growing again, WeForest uses a technique called Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) to speed up the process of restoration. The area is further enriched by planting native trees in the exclosure zones. During the 2017 planting season, we planted over 35 600 trees that will grow into 45 hectares of dry Afromontane forest.

WeForest collaborates with local government district officers and community leaders. In addition to planting trees that are native to the ecosystem, further preference was given to species that the community identified as most beneficial to their life. For example, Acacia abyssinica has leaves that may be used for feeding livestock. After planting, WeForest continues to support land management and follows up of the planted seedlings with the help of local community members trained in sustainable forestry.

Working with local communities and engaging them in decision making increases the success rate of our projects. Thanks to your support, we can combine traditional knowledge and science for the benefit of people, planet and climate!

Exclosure with young Acacia abyssinica trees
Exclosure with young Acacia abyssinica trees
Exclosure with young Eucalyptus trees
Exclosure with young Eucalyptus trees
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Organization Information

WeForest

Location: Brussels - Belgium
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WeForest_org
Project Leader:
Maurah Van Impe
Overijse, Belgium

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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