How AFR100 is Restoring Landscapes Across Africa
Meaghan Weeden | June 28, 2021 | 3 min read
Restoring Landscapes and Revitalizing Economies for lasting impact Across Africa
We're honored to be part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100). Together, local communities, national governments, public and private sector partners, and international development programs are uniting to restore 100 million hectares of land by 2030. This powerful African-led initiative aims to restore productivity to deforested and degraded landscapes to combat rural poverty, grow more food, fight climate change, empower youth leaders, and more!
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."
Watch The Grand African Green Up to Learn More!
The Grand African Green Up is an inspiring new documentary released by our partners 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.
Here are a few project highlights:
From empowering women through agroforestry to reducing pressure on primary forests and reforesting urban areas, we have several impactful projects in countries across Africa. Here are just a few!
Urban Reforestation in South Africa
We're planting a total of 150,000 trees on 125 hectares in Cape Town townships across the Western Cape to benefit local farmers by creating windbreaks in an area where winds can reach up to 160kph. We've worked closely with a local nursery, farmers, and community members to develop a planting that will benefit both people and the environment for generations to come.
To achieve this, we'll plant a mix of indigenous dense trees, shrubs, and perennials with a focus on medicinal and food-bearing species. The trees planted will protect farms from harsh winds, provide security screening, create green spaces for disadvantaged urban communities, reduce the urban heat island effect, reduce pollution, and more!
Part of the planting area includes a highly sensitive wetland that's critical to the health of the urban landscape. It provides habitat for freshwater and terrestrial species and reduces stormwater runoff in an area where most surfaces have been hardened. It has experienced intense degradation over time, and restoring it will provide significant benefits over time.
We'll also be planting on degraded land and across river spills in areas where the Cape Flats Dune Strandveld — a unique type of Cape Strandveld that's endemic to the coastal areas around Cape Town — grows. Of the 6,146 Ha of the Cape Flats Dune Strandveld remaining, only 2,092 Ha are protected, so this work is crucial for habitat preservation.
LAND RESTORATION IN MALAWI
We're working with local communities to plant 2 million trees to restore native forests across Malawi. In many village areas, local people (often women) are forced to walk long and unsafe distances to secure cooking fuel in the form of firewood. This has led to forest degradation in nearby areas, fragmenting wildlife habitat and presenting hardships for local farming communities.
In addition to planting indigenous forest trees, our partner will install water wells and pumps, teach local women how to build fuel-efficient clay brick stoves to save firewood, plant fruit trees for food and income, and more. This will help help improve the lives of local women and communities while also reducing subsistence pressure on ecologically priceless primary forests. Planting in combination with sustainable development tackles the roots of deforestation and ensures long-term success and impact.
The newly planted trees will begin the process of sequestering carbon and provide hydrological benefits to surrounding areas. And over time, these new forests will create other benefits like preventing erosion, improving soil health, lowering temperatures and more. Through these cumulative effects, Malawi will once again have complex ecosystems capable of supporting a broad range of wildlife and other species, while allowing sustainable livelihoods to develop.
Sustainable Agroforestry in Rwanda
Rwanda's Gishwati-Mukura forests once spanned 253,000 hectares, covering the land with over 60 species of trees and providing habitat for chimpanzees and other native wildlife. Due to illegal mining and the resettlement of households after the genocide in 1994, overgrazing and deforestation reduced the forests to a mere 3,558 ha. Smallholder farmers feel the impacts of that degradation and understand the importance of landscape restoration for water, energy and food security. This project will help a women’s cooperative, led by local farmer Agnes Uwifashije, revive land in Mukura.
For this project, our amazing partners will plant over 3.4 million trees over 3+ years and mentor and build the skills of 2,000 farmers to restore land while improving community livelihoods. These trees will help add nutrients to the soil while controlling run-off and erosion. And through careful management, they'll also provide the local farmers with firewood, climbing bean poles, and fodder for their animals. For food security and income generation, the farmers will also plant avocado, lemon, and tree tomatoes — making this an integrated agroforestry project with a positive impact for generations to come!
Want to learn more about our Africa projects? Plant a tree in Africa today!
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