Some weeks ago, workmen were renovating a building at the hospital grounds in the capital. In the process over 100 young trees had to be dug out, to make room for the new building. One of the people working in the hospital, who knew of our reforestation efforts in the countryside, encouraged the workmen to dig out the young trees and save them. Instead of chopping down the seedlings, the hospital employees took it home, replanted the little trees in pots, watered and tended to them until Zahana could organize a transport to the village. A few weeks later over 100 healthy, young tree saplings where on their way in pots, to be planted in the Malagasy countryside. Since the trees are growing extremely well in the capital, it was his hope that some trees may take root in the village as well and provide shade and groundcover in our mix of different trees in our reforestation efforts.
For those curious among you, the trees have been identified as Iron wood trees (Casuarina equisetifolia). These trees have extremely hard wood and although it is difficult to ignite, it will burn hot (even when green) and the resultant ashes retain their heat for a long time. It has been called the “best firewood in the world”. If the trees will thrive in the arid climate of the high plateau of Madagascar, only time will tell.
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