Fighting climate change, one tree at a time
Climate change is affecting millions of communities, right now. Could tree planting be the answer?
In Uganda, the DRC, Australia and Scotland, communities are seeing the benefits of planting trees and nurturing forest ecosystems—for people, plants, animals and the planet!
How do trees and forests help prevent climate change and support communities? Well, to start with they capture and store carbon from the atmosphere in their leaves, roots and branches as they grow. They also help enrich the soil, filter water, and they are home to 80% of the world's land animals.
The women changing Uganda, one seed at a time
Image: Women in Uganda work together to ensure that their trees mature
(copyright: Lynn Johnson | Ripple Effect Images)
In Uganda, these farmers plant seedlings on their farms: this brings back shade and prevents the soil from drying out, leading to better crop growth and less soil erosion, and then there's the bonus of some tasty and nutritious fruits and nuts that can be eaten or sold at market in a few years!
Once planted, the trees are logged using hand-held GPS devices. The data is sent to an online "real-time" database so growth can be monitored. As long as the trees stand, the project earns carbon credits, creating a valuable and long-term source of income for the farmers!
Growing coffee in the Congo Rainforest
Image: A coffee nursery in one of the villages in Isangi—seedlings grow under shelter before being planted outside between other crops and under trees
Smallholder farmers in Isangi are planting coffee in the shade of the jungle. This season coffee has supplied the local villages—coffee is a traditional feature of funerals that are long festivities involving the whole village.
Next season, with even more coffee to harvest as the trees mature, the project is setting up ways to help the farmers bring their high quality coffee beans to a wider market, which is key to getting a fair price for their produce and buffering against local fluctuations in demand. This provides farmers with dependable jobs and income so they can support their families.
Activities like coffee growing mean farmers can earn a decent living without cutting down trees or clearing land. Protecting the forest earns the community carbon credits, which are sold and used to fund better healthcare, education and food security.
The children restoring the wilds of Scotland
Image: Scotland's next generation of tree planters flex their growing green thumbs
In the Southern Uplands of Scotland, kids are prepared for the elements and getting stuck into planting trees. It looks sparse now, but in time these trees will grow into forests.
The project involves planting over 200 hectares of woodland with native birch, oak, hazel and rowan trees. Another 200 hectares of older woodland is being regenerated. As the trees and vegetation grow they sequester carbon, which earns carbon credits. Through the sale of these, the project can fund further reforestation and regeneration activities or even expand the project size.
Local community groups of young people, including five schools, Scout and Cadet groups, teenagers completing their Duke of Edinburgh and John Muir Trust awards, are using the area to reconnect with the great odoors!
Re-greening Kenya's Lake Naivasha
Image: Agronomist John Mburu shows us some of the native plants that are being planted to restore vegetation around Lake Naivasha
Smallholder farmers and commercial flower growers in Kenya's Lake Naivasha are planting trees on their properties. They are steadily reversing the damage that deforestation has caused. The trees will soon protect against flooding in the wet season and drought in the dry season.
This impact is important for the country. Lake Naivasha is the beating heart of the region, supplying drinking water to nearby Nakuru, the fourth largest city in Kenya, as well as providing irrigation water to the surrounding horticulture and power generation industries. The project is the result of a big group effort—locals, expert partners on the ground, like John (pictured), Coop Switzerland, WWF and South Pole all work together, proving that collaboration between local and international partners brings tangible results.
Working for the greener good Down Under
Image: Walking the talk—Gabby and Rhyannon from South Pole's Australian team are up bright and early to help plant trees
South Pole Australia and our EcoAustralia™ partner Cassinia Environmental invited corporate climate leaders to join the national effort on our first-ever EcoAustralia™ National Tree Day. South Pole clients and other climate leaders—from Melbourne University, to Simply Green Salary Packaging and even the founder of Drawdown Australia—came together for a good cause: to plant one thousand drooping sheoak saplings ona bare grassy hill, just an hour's drive from Melbourne on the traditional lands of the Wathaurong People.
Companies around the world are increasingly seeing the value of planting trees—but protecting, conserving and restoring the land that trees grow on is equally important!
Want to learn more? Read about the various types of forestry projects—including reforestation, restoration, conservation and protection—and how they work here.