It takes a village to raise a forest….
One of the charities that Carbon Neutral Britain supports is Eden Reforestation Projects, which is a reforestation initiative in Madagascar.
The destruction of more than 90% of Madagascar's primary forests has had a particularly severe impact on people living in extreme poverty.
How did this project start?
Eden Reforestation Projects started its mangrove restoration efforts in Mahajanga, Madagascar in 2007 in response to the widespread loss of mangroves in the area. They partnered with the local community to clear debris, gather native mangrove propagules, and plant trees at low tide. Through this collaborative effort, a damaged estuary was transformed into a thriving mangrove forest which led to the rejuvenation of the aquatic ecosystem. This successful reforestation effort in Mahajanga led to the expansion of the project to dry deciduous forests in 2012.
10% of Madagascar’s Primary Forest Remain
75% of species are unique to Madagascar
Why reforest in Madagascar?
Madagascar is a high priority for conservation efforts due to its unique species and the high rate of habitat loss that is happening there. Reforestation is vital for the island as the loss of mangrove estuaries has led to the erosion of mudflats which in turn has negatively impacted fishing and increased the vulnerability of coastal communities to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and floods. In addition, the destruction of dry deciduous forests threatens the survival of one of the world's most endangered and diverse forest ecosystems.
Progress of the Madagascar project to date?
Madagascar is the primary focus of Eden Reforestation Projects' efforts, with 93 project sites in the country. The organization has built a robust infrastructure in the form of guardhouses, fire towers, and seed banks to aid in the restoration. Additionally, they established a training centre in which local nursery managers learn how to manage seedlings, and gain skills in reforestation methods. The combination of infrastructure, resources and training centres enables them to carry out extensive reforestation and poverty alleviation efforts.
776 million+ trees produced, planted, and protected
11,700+ employees empowered with fair wages
Where in Madagascar
- Coastal: Northwest Madagascar
The Mangrove reforestation effort in northwest Madagascar, along the coast, aims to combat erosion and enhance the health of the ocean. Each month, over two million mangroves are planted in this area.
- Protected Natural Reserves and Parks: Ankarafantskia National Park
In Ankarafantsika National Park, located within the Protected Natural Reserves and Parks, efforts are being made to restore the Tropical dry deciduous forest which serves as a habitat for eight species of critically endangered lemurs. Additionally, 70% of the 820 species of plants that can be found in the park are unique to Madagascar.
- Inland: Northwest Madagascar
In the inland region of northwest Madagascar, reforestation projects in the dry deciduous forests are underway, targeting land that has been severely damaged by slash-and-burn farming practices. These projects aim to stabilize the land, prevent erosion and flooding, and restore and expand habitats for various animal species.
A heart-warming story from the Eden team: “While most people run away from fires, our team runs towards them. For example, in September 2021, a fire in Ankarafantsika burned over 1,500 hectares (around 6 square miles). As the fire continued to spread, the fire department reached out to our Madagascar project team for help because of our experience in fire mitigation. Our team collected their tools such as water packs, buckets, and shovels and joined the firefighters. They were on the front lines in t-shirts and sandals, extinguishing the fire. Our reforestation teams train in fire management to ensure that the trees we plant are protected from extreme events as they grow to maturity.”
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