News from the field in Amhara

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Our project in Amhara, which focuses on restoring forests in order to create healthy and productive lands for rural families, is now well underway. We have three nurseries up and running, several restoration sites identified and 600 families signed up to plant trees on their farmland.

At the nurseries, potting and seedling production is underway where, today, an estimated 172,000 seeds and seedlings are growing. Over the coming months we will grow even more seedlings ready for the rains to arrive around June. 



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Harvesting food from forests can improve food security for rural families across the globe. Food security exists when everyone has access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life.


How gullies threaten livelihoods

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Meet Andwalem Adane, a local 5th grader living in Amhara, Ethiopia. He is worried about the gullies that currently scatter the landscape because it threatens his family's land. This mirrors the concerns of the regional government, who have set land rehabilitation as their first priority on the political agenda.

Gullies are channels resulting from erosion,caused by the concentrated but intermittent flow of water, usually during and immediately following heavy rains. They are one of the most destructive forms of erosion in Ethiopia.


Zambia's breath of fresh air

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Women in the Ajumani refugee camp in south Sudan came up with the name Peko Pe, meaning “no problem”, for a new stove that made it easier to collect fuel. The fuel that the stoves require is flexible, either grass or wood will do, which meant that women could cook without having to take long, exhausting trips into the forest to harvest wood.

And so the Peko Pe cooking stove was born.


How pumas plant trees

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Pumas, and potentially other wild felids, could be helping to green the planet by planting trees.

Zoologists have been arguing for decades that large carnivores play a key role in natural ecosystem dynamics because they are apex predators, the top of the food chain. They control prey populations through predation and thereby set in motion a series of changes further down the food chain, a process known as a trophic cascade.


On camera

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We’ve spoken a lot recently about the camera traps installed in our forests in Brazil’s Pontal do Paranapanema region.


I am very happy to see the tree nursery arrive in our village

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Meet Mulenesh Nigussie, a shy but passionate young 9th grader.

Our team recently had the pleasure of meeting her at our site in Amhara, Ethiopia, where she shared her hopes about the project. Mulenesh and the rest of the children in her community participate in different household activities, both in the home and in the gardens and farmland, where they plant trees, fetch water and help their parents harvest crops. Children play an active and important role in family life and so our tree planting activities are important to them too.


Planting trees at schools

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Before getting involved in the project, the school grounds at Kyaro primary school were bare and lifeless. Now, they are scattered with around 2600 trees of varying ages, some as young as 6 months old and as old as 3 years. 


Meet Cisero Natercio

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Cisero Natercio is a member of the Landless Workers Movement (Portuguese: Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra, MST), a movement for land reform in Brazil that pushes for secure access to land for rural workers.


Meet Elisabeth Zamba

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Elisabeth Zimba is 65 years old but she still manages her 2 hectares of farmland in Luanshya in Zambia’s copperbelt province. She recently joined our project to restore the Miombo woodlot on her land and we had the chance to hear what that means to her.

She explains that “the training was very successful because only now I know the value of my trees and how I can manage and benefit from them”. With a smile on her face she told us that “at least I know that, if I take good care of these trees now, it will be something I can give to my children when I’m old”.


Welcome to Muhundwe Primary School

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In August, our team had the opportunity to visit Muhundwe Primary School in Kinesi, Tanzania, to check up on how they’re progressing with our project. Over the last 3 years they have grown an impressive 1,250 trees. These trees provide a variety of resources for the children, providing timber for chairs and desks and fruit for afternoon snacks. Plus, it provides a lush playground for the children to enjoy their breaks. 


Forest pharmacies: the cure comes from the forest

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That forests are actually good for our health is not news. They provide oxygen, water and nutrition. Plants have also been used as natural remedies and medicines for thousands of years. At our project site, we see a variety of medicinal herbs growing. It’s a kind of forest pharmacy and today we would like to introduce you to two of the super ingredients it provides.


Making reforestation accessible

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It has long been argued that working alongside local communities creates a more favorable climate for environmental restoration. Across all of WeForest’s projects, we work with rural people to restore forests and promote sustainable livelihood development, engaging them in the decision-making and implementation of project activities.

This is currently taking place in the region of Tigray in the Central Zone of Ethiopia, where WeForest is developing a project to restore exclosures of degraded land.


New selfies in the forest

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Last month we shared the launch of our partner IPÊ's Selfies in the Forest Web Platform

We are excited to announce that the website has been updated with more camera trap footage straight from the forests of Brazil that you are helping to restore. 


The fruit seller

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Meet Shabani Haji. With our support, she has planted and nurtured a healthy little forest on her land.

Each year she collects the fruits from her plot of land (around a thousand) including papaya, guava and passion fruit, to sell to neighbours and at the local market or enjoy with her family. Last year, Shabani earnt $300 from the sale of papaya alone, which is a substantial increase to her income. She also collects firewood from her plot and uses the leaves, seeds and roots for medicine. These she often shares with her neighbours.


An update from Tigray

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On Saturday 22 October 2016 in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, WeForest held an on-site consultative meeting and discussion with District Officers, Mekele University, community leaders and community representatives to discuss and plan the next stages of the Exclosure project development in Seret, Central Tigray.  


Meet the Khasi

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In the hills of India’s Meghalaya region, communities of indigenous people known as the Khasi live alongside luscious cloud forests and sacred groves. Welcome to India’s Tribal Belt.

Here, we are working alongside Khasi communities, who manage around 90% of the forests of Meghalaya, to restore the native forest.


Brazil nurseries are in full swing

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The community-based nurseries in Pontal do Paranapanema are working intensively to produce the thousands of seedlings that will be used in the next areas scheduled for reforestation.


Selfies in the forest

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Every tree we plant helps to cool our earth.

In Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, our trees also provide habitat for a plethora of native fauna. This includes the tapir, a kind of South American terrestrial hippo, jaguars, ocelots, pumas and anteaters. The list goes on.


Trees and their impact on water availability in drylands

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If you have ever been to drylands such as to Burkina Faso you might have seen that forests there do not have the densest tree cover. Have you ever wondered if these modest forests could actually be good for something?


Making schools greener

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The support of local people in resisting logging and conserving forests is a crucial challenge to deforestation. Environmental projects throughout the world are increasingly recognizing the need to partner with local people, and their children too, in our efforts to conserve the environment. 

In Ethiopia's Amhara region, these children are the future guardians of the landscape, which currently stands degraded and deforested and in desperate need of restoring. 


Technology meets restoration

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Innovative technology is fast being recognized as an extremely valuable tool to improve efficiency and outcomes of environmental projects.

In Zambia we are embracing telecommunications in our data collection to engage local people. Our project aims to restore plots of woodland on local farms, which means we need to keep in close contact with the farmers to monitor progress…

So we’re collecting a wide range of socio-economic data and the ecological woodlot data and are storing them in a database alongside the farmer's details. 


Women's fruit tree nursery scheme underway

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As of this week, the first stages of our fruit tree nursery scheme in Zambia are underway. Our planting partner is busy training 40 women to set up their own home-based nurseries where they will grow high value fruit trees like citrus, mango and tangerine trees.

The two day practical training course covers how to collect the seeds and grafting and caring for the growing trees. Alongside this training, the women receive a starter kit with everything they need to start growing their own trees.


Soils are important. Why do we treat them like dirt?

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Last year, scientists described soils as a “nearly forgotten resource”. It is therefore no surprise that the UN declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. 
Soils are far too often considered as “dirt”, while in fact, they have profound importance for life and are linked to everything around us. They feed us and play a key role in biodiversity conservation. It turns out that today is Earth Day, a very special occasion and opportunity to bring soils into the spotlight.



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This post was originally published on the Brabantia blog.

We hope you have heard the good news! International non-profit organisation WeForest, dedicated to bio-diverse tree planting, together with us here at Brabantia, has planted its 10 millionth tree in Ethiopia. 


Money for honey

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Meet Gebeyehu Chane.

Gebeyehu is keen to engage in our project in Amhara to embrace more profitable and sustainable ways to make a living. He has 11 children and of them only four are financially independent, so it is up to him and his one hectare of land to support them.

He keeps livestock and grows crops on this farmland, but its primarily for home consumption. Its beekeeping and honey production, that he started engaging in with help from our project partner, that he really relies on for his income. Today he has an impressive 60 beehives.