SILVER SPRING (March 25, 2021) – More than 36,000 farmers across nine African countries are planting more than 50 million trees on their property this year. The trees are part of agroforestry systems called Forest Gardens, strategically planted trees and food crops that benefit the land and the farmer.
“Mass reforestation of public lands is one form of tree planting that addresses climate change, but there are also 27 million smallholder farmers with less than five acres of land in Sub-Saharan Africa. This land cannot be turned into preserved forest, it has to serve as viable farmland for families to make a living,” explains Trees for the Future Director of Programs Brandy Lellou. “Agroforestry is a truly sustainable method of reforestation because it transforms degraded lands while providing even more food and income to the farmer.”
The 36,000 farmers enrolled in Trees for the Future’s Forest Garden program will have an average of 4,000 trees per acre when their Forest Gardens are established. The veteran nonprofit organization has worked around the globe in the last three decades and has honed their tree planting efforts to be as impactful and sustainable as possible. In 32 years, Trees for the Future has planted 211 million trees in 40+ countries. By focusing on farmer education and the Forest Garden Approach, Trees for the Future is increasing the number of trees they plant each year. With 50 million trees scheduled to be planted this year, they’re nearly doubling the number of trees they planted in 2020.
“It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the state of our planet and the need for urgent action,” Lellou says. “But the good news is that Trees for the Future has a solution that is working for smallholder farmers and their land,” Lellou says. “If we continue to educate farmers and the agriculture industry on the benefits of agroforestry, we can restore and repair even the most degraded land impacted by climate change.”
Trees for the Future is also partnering with local and global organizations to plant in the corridors between Forest Gardens to green entire landscapes, achieving the rapid landscape restoration needed in these regions. Individual donors, corporate partners, and institutional donors fund Trees for the Future’s work. Local training staff and Collaborative Field Partners carry out the farmer training in each country.
“We’re grateful for all of our dedicated supporters and partners who understand that time is running out and who are committed to making a lasting impact for future generations, we couldn’t achieve this work without them,” Lellou says.
The trees will be planted at different times throughout the year based on regional seasons and planting schedules. Visit trees.org/map for a closer look at where the trees are planted. Trees for the Future will kick off their Earth Month campaign on April 1st, urging the public to take action by donating to their program.