We are delighted to share some good news: our efforts in Tanzania are showing real progress.
Just two years ago, ForestPlanet’s partners in the Kwezizi region of Tanzania planted 80,000 trees, covering an area of 40 hectares. (You can learn more about the project here.)
This is how things looked on the ground at this planting site in 2019:
We are using satellite imaging to monitor conditions on the ground. One of the capabilities in the satellite imaging toolbox is NDVI or Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. NDVI is a measurement of vegetation health commonly used by foresters and agronomists. A detailed description of NDVI can be found here, but essentially, the darker green the image, the more numerous and healthy the plants.
For example, here’s how the 2019 photograph translates to an NDVI image, as supplied by our friends at Madrid-based GMV:
Compare this to the photo below, taken in October 2021, about one year after the trees were planted. You can see that the scene has improved significantly. These trees are from the fast-growing cypress family, which can shoot up by more than four feet per year.
Our partners in the local communities have been keeping the soils free of weeds, monitoring tree root development, and otherwise taking care of the young trees. The October 2021 photo translates into a greener NDVI image that reflects the improvement in the area. But while the NDVI image reflects increased green from the young trees, plenty of bare spots remain:
Again, the seeds for these young trees are always sourced locally, and the species used in this project are selected to closely mirror the biodiversity of the region. The species include pines, pinus patula, cypress, crotton megalocapus, markamea lutea, and podocarpus usambarensis which is unique to the region.
The next phase in the restoration plan was planting food and cash crops. These crops were sown in November 2021 and included maize, onions, potatoes, and other vegetables. The new tree roots have revitalized the soil and created spaces to hold rainwater. This increases the survival chances of the vegetables, which helps nourish the soil.
The plan is working!
You can see in this photo from December 2021 that healthy young maize plants have joined our cypress trees. The rapid growth of the maize is due to the increased moisture and nutrients held in the soil by the cypress trees.
And (drumroll) here is the corresponding NDVI image from December 2021:
It’s great when good news on the ground can be seen from space!
In early Spring 2022, our local partners will harvest the maize, with about 60% for local consumption. Our local partners will sell the balance at Tanga, Dar es Salaam, and Arusha markets. This 40-hectare project provides income and food security to about 25 families directly but will feed many times that number in the surrounding cities.
Our plan at ForestPlanet is to replicate this type of success at increasingly more significant levels in Africa and worldwide. Not too far from this Kwezizi location is the Irente planting site, a 2000-hectare area where we hope to plant two million trees by the end of 2024.
Thank you for your support! You can see that this type of project yields quick results, and at 15 cents per tree, a dollar goes a long way. This is an impactful way to address several critical issues at the same time–from local food insecurity to climate change.
You can keep up to date on our progress through our blog and Facebook page, and please leave a comment in the section below!