One Tree Planted Supports AFR100 to Restore Landscapes Across Africa
Diana Chaplin + Meaghan Weeden | October 28, 2021 | 5 min read
Restoring Forest Landscapes and Revitalizing Economies for Lasting Impact Across Africa
AFR100, the African Forest Landscape Restoration initiative, is a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030. It aims to accelerate restoration to enhance food security, increase climate change resilience and mitigation, and combat rural poverty. This includes 32 participating countries in Africa, along with local communities, national governments, public and private sector partners, and international development programs.
One Tree Planted is honored to be a technical partner of AFR100, thanks to our long-standing global restoration partnership with World Resources Institute (WRI).
We're also thrilled to announce that we've received a $15 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund to support our work restoring landscapes across the African Continent. Launched in 2020, the Bezos Earth Fund is a $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and private-sector entities that are taking critical action to combat the climate crisis, preserve and protect the natural world, and support climate justice. We’re proud to be included among the recipients in this round of grants, which is squarely focused on conserving land and sea, restoring degraded landscapes, and advancing climate justice.
How AFR100 Works and Will Continue to Expand
According to AFR100, "The commitments announced under AFR100 also support the Bonn Challenge adopted in Germany in 2011, whose overall objective is to restore 150 million hectares by 2020, the New York Declaration on Forests that stretches the goal to 350 million hectares by 2030, and finally the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative (ARLI) to promote integrated landscape management to promote adaptation to and mitigation of climate change."
Phase 1 of AFR100 galvanized 32 countries pledging to restore more than 100 million hectares in 2015 to improve their readiness for implementation. Phase 2 (2022-2026) will build on that foundation to unlock restoration implementation at scale, with the goal of restoring an additional 20 million hectares by 2026.
One Tree Planted has already funded and implemented reforestation projects throughout many countries in Africa, and now these region-based efforts are part of a significantly greater initiative.
To accomplish these ambitious goals, the following best practices have been identified by IUCN and WRI, to help ensure that restoration is successful, lasting and beneficial throughout Africa:
- Involve trees and other woody plants in landscapes where appropriate
- Scale up successes from individual sites
- Restore functionality, ecosystem services, not “original” forest cover
- Balance local needs with national and global priorities
- Employ a range of restoration strategies
- Adapt to circumstances over time
- Avoid strategies that lead to the conversion of natural ecosystems
Participating projects will be evaluated based on three key broad criteria: the likelihood of success, community-drive impact, and the quality of benefits conferred to the environment.
Pioneering a new wave of restoration funding in Africa will first and foremost target local partners that are likely to lead to successful, long-lasting outcomes. This will help ensure that new projects can be used as examples for replicating top quality restoration endeavors. A diversity of projects that have a clear pathway to creating benefits for local landscapes and communities will buffer against any potential disruptions, and provide a variety of meaningful and inspiring stories.
Other key sub-criteria for successful restoration include the following:
- High-quality entrepreneurial agroforestry operations
- Projects that empower women via leadership, participation and improved livelihoods through land restoration
- Targeting areas of ecological urgency, such as biodiversity corridors, for reforestation or managed natural regeneration
- Tree nurseries that can elevate the capacity of project implementers to better execute restoration projects across the board
In addition to restoration projects, a Land Accelerator was launched in 2018 with the goal of empowering land-restoration entrepreneurs to scale their companies by providing a four-month capacity-building and networking program to selected small and medium enterprises active in sustainable agriculture and forestry. The curriculum is designed to build entrepreneurs’ technical and business acumen, as well as improve the management of their farmer network.
Here are a few of our existing AFR100 partnerships:
WELLS FOR ZOË (MALAWI)
Wells for Zoë strives to make a positive impact for impoverished community members by offering jobs to locals,while also providing access to clean drinking water. With a general focus on increasing gender equality in Malawi, 70% of those employed are women. Additionally, Wells for Zoë supports education for young girls and women.
Aiming to improve livelihoods, free fruit tree seedlings are provided to community planters and nursery workersas additional rewards to plant on their own lands. This ensures a higher participation for labour-intensive task and also food security for often malnourished families. Some of these fruits include mango, orange, tangerine, avocado, apple, and Brazil nuts.
KIJANI FORESTRY (UGANDA)
Kijani Forestry focuses on supporting local communities in Uganda through reforestation, as trees hold the power to break the cycle of poverty and create wealth for rural farmers. Hundreds of land-holding farmers in this region, of which approximately 55% are women, have shown interest in planting trees to improve their family’s futures.
Reforestation provides food, fuel, livestock fodder, construction materials, and ultimately improved income for farmersin an industry that has been constantly increasing demand and decreasing supply. By expanding into fruit trees, farmers are ensured a future where the seedlings planted today turn into food and income for many years to come.
INTERNATIONAL TREE FOUNDATION (KENYA)
International Tree Foundation embraces agroforestry as a restoration approach by integrating crops and trees.This ultimately helps to support local communities both ecologically and economically, thus allowing regions to flourish on a global scale.
In order to provide sustainable livelihoods for local farmers, a strong focus on increasing household income is placed, while also promoting Women empowerment and gender equality.Thanks to agroforestry, health and nutrition is also improved for vulnerable households. Benefits of reforesting this region include improved soil fertility and water conservation, and increased biodiversity.
And for even more stories we recommend The Grand African Green Up, a documentary released by WRI and JustDiggit, featured on National Geographic, that tells the story of people across Africa who are working to restore the landscapes they call home.
AFR100 will require significant momentum from local and national governments as well as participating partners, and has issued challenge to mobilize $2 Billion for the initiative by COP27,which will be held on African soil. But it will also require your support! You can plant trees as part of a holistic restoration strategy that has people and landscapes at the heart of a vision for a greener Africa.