Zahana is in the process of planting 10 trees for each woman, child and man in our villages. The villagers as active re-foresters and caretakers took on an ambitious goal: planting 15,000 trees over the next few years. Drawing on our gardeners' years of experience growing seedlings and planting trees successfully, it is time to scale up our efforts and plant a new forest. Anticipating increased demand for tree seedlings we moved the tree nursery in both villages to the school grounds in 2019.
On a global level, Madagascar is often in the news when it comes to deforestation. On local level, forests disappear quietly and gradually, one tree here, one tree there, fueled by the need for firewood for cooking and feeding families and building materials. The lack of trees, illustrated by our pictures, visualizes that it is high time to act. Eyewitness accounts of elders assure us of forests all around (with lemurs and other wildlife) in their youth.
Our two experienced gardeners spearhead this community-wide tree planting. They have become main innovators trying out new crops, to test if plants are suitable for the local climate in both villages. Both grow the tree seedlings and train others to be stewards, planting and tending to 'their' young trees, which may need to be watered by hand until the to root system is strong enough to support it. As incentive, there are prizes for the most trees surviving after 1, 2 and 3 years.
Reforestation is, after access to clean water, vital for environmental and community health. One tree at a time, planting trees looks ahead to the future and actively improves quality of life, having the grandchildren's well being in mind. This project is designed for the long haul and will grow steadily like our new trees.