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Why we plant trees in developing countries (and not in Europe)
May 28, 2022 | written by: Laurenz Blindenbacher
It is the heart of our work: Treedom plants trees in countries in the earth's southern hemisphere. But why is that? In this article, we explain why it often makes more sense to plant trees in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania or Nepal than in Europe.
It is about more than "just" greening the earth. With our projects, we pursue the two objectives:
- Environmental benefits
With our tree plantations, we want to exert the greatest possible influence on local ecosystems. We specifically focus on promoting biodiversity – which is why we only plant native species. At the same time, we want to counteract soil erosion and protect the fertility of the soil. With each of our projects, we want to find the right way to create added value on the ground for our local communities. What does that mean? It means establishing the right trees in the right place at the right time.
- Social benefits
The most important thing is that our work is always about people. We want to create the greatest possible benefits for our local communities. What is particularly important in this? The communities must benefit directly from our trees. At Treedom, we therefore mainly plant fruit trees and crops. The advantage is obvious: economic benefits! The trees belong to the people, that is, they can eat the fruits themselves or sell them at local markets.
All our projects create a food security and income opportunities for the local people. Incidentally, this is also one of the most important reasons why we plant our crops exclusively within the framework of agroforestry systems. Agroforestry integrates the practice of "cultivating" trees into sustainable agriculture.
Why does Treedom not grow trees in Europe?
Well that's enough about our methodology. Let's now turn to the question of why Treedom's projects are located in the southern hemisphere and not in Europe.
You can probably already guess: our work in Africa, South America and Asia has a greater impact on local communities. The opportunity to drive change is many times greater in developing countries than in Europe! In many rural communities, trees are a vital resource, from which not only our farmers but also their families can live.
Here's an example: in Kenya, a dozen trees that are sufficiently diversified – that is to say, they enable harvesting throughout the year – are enough to feed a human being. This would hardly be possible in this country. The cost of living is too high, the legal situation with respect to tree planting is too cumbersome, and the income from the trees is too low.
That is why our projects go beyond merely planting trees. We grow our trees in the southern hemisphere so that local communities get the most possible benefit out of our work.
There are tree planting projects in Europe that take a different approach – and that is a good thing. We are happy about every tree that gets planted! Whether in your garden, in Europe or in one of our projects around the world. Only together can we make the planet greener!
How we create social benefits
The principle is quick to explain:
- We build nurseries together with local partners. Only in this way can we ensure that a project develops sustainably and permanently.
- In the first few weeks, the seedlings grow in the nurseries. As soon as they are strong enough, they are planted by the local people on their private land.
- Treedom not only provides the necessary tools for this, but also offers workshops and training courses to impart the necessary knowledge.
- We carry out regular quality checks to ensure that the trees will continue to grow in the future and bring long-term benefits – for local biodiversity and for the people involved in the project.
Together with the University of Tuscia, we have developed the "Treedom Standard" for this purpose. All our partner organisations worldwide are committed to meeting these guidelines.
The Treedom way
We're making the Earth greener, but that's not all! Our projects create long-term environmental and social benefits. We have decided to invest mainly in developing countries, because this is where we make the biggest changes.
If you want to help us create prospects for people through our reforestation projects, go and take a look at Treedom.net.