We are creating a tropical botanic garden to support forest conservation. The garden will serve three purposes: (1) A seed source for rare and threatened plants, mostly trees, for use in restoring deforested areas; (2) A regional training centre for forest restoration; (3) A peaceful location for charitable ecotourism, where tourists can learn about plants and watch local wildlife [birds, monkeys, butterflies] between the excitement of the other safari adventures that the region has to offer.
The Udzungwa Mountains and Kilombero Valley of Tanzania form one of the world's most important areas for forest species conservation. Forest has been destroyed over the past century such that lowland forests in the region are at risk of total extirpation. This has implications for an astounding number of threatened species, while also threatening water sources that are crucial for surrounding farmland in a major region of rice and sugar production for East Africa.
Our work will therefore develop a regional hub for forest restoration where knowledge, methods and infrastructure can be developed for restoring forest. The Udzungwa Botanic Garden will also be a draw for tourists, bringing revenue to the region. This first phase of work will raise funds for securing the land and planting trees, including many rare, globally threatened and restricted-range species.
The longer-term impact will contribute to the broader objectives of Reforest Africa. Our mission is to develop and implement techniques for ecological restoration, conservation and monitoring of African forests for wildlife and people. to this end, the garden will provide vital knowledge and resources that will contribute to a landscape restoration plan for some 40,000 square kilometres of land that was once entirely covered in forest.