Where do Eden Reforestation purchase the seed/saplings from?
Most of their seeds are collected by local villagers from nearby remnant forests. If required to supplement the collected seeds, seeds are purchased from local, trusted seed banks. They never purchase seedlings; they grow their own in their nurseries to ensure quality and germination rates.
What are their planting methods?
The various planting methods they use include: singling or farmer managed natural regeneration, seed balls, seedling nursery, bare root transfers, and mangrove propagule planting. Each nation uses one or more of these methods depending on the species of trees that are native to that given region.
What kind of trees do they plant?
Eden Reforestation Projects plants only native species trees; these vary from nation to nation. They never plant or introduce any invasive species at any of their project sites. They also plant a percentage of agroforestry species for sustainable community use. This prevents the community from going into newly restored forests and provides greater community benefit and involvement in the project.
Are the trees planted on publicly or privately-owned land?
Land rights and authority vary from nation to nation and from planting site to planting site. However, the overwhelming majority of Eden Reforestation Projects’ forest restoration projects occur on government-owned land that is under the direct authority of the local community. In contrast, Eden works on smaller scale agroforestry projects (like many of their projects in Haiti). Agroforestry efforts typically occur at sites owned by small scale farmers. The one consistent determining factor within each nation is that Eden has established legal Government Associations and/or Non-Government Organizations, which provide them with authority to operate effectively and in coordination with all the essential Regional and Local governance agencies on crucial determinants.
Who owns the trees?
The vast majority of the trees at Eden Reforestation Project sites are owned by the local communities who actively participated in the restoration of their regional forest during their employment period with Eden. The common (but much smaller exception) is when agroforestry trees are planted at small plot farmer sites where the land is owned by the local farmer. In such cases, the small plot farmer owns the trees along with the proceeds from the trees.
For how long is the land protected and under what agreement?
Thanks to their in-country staff’s hard work, Eden Reforestation Projects has developed deep and respectful relationships within all levels of community and government departments. In every case, Eden Reforestation Projects makes concerted efforts to form and secure written agreements with a clause leading to a perpetual forest. Further, to ensure protection in perpetuity, our funding strategy includes salaries for guards during the extended time period required to hire local villagers who restore the region’s forest. Finally, Eden has also established a guard endowment with the strategic objective of funding site guards after the regional forest is fully restored.
How do they ensure the protection of their trees? How do you know their trees will not be cut down again?
Eden makes every effort to ensure the forest we plant becomes permanent and sustainable. Towards this end they have implemented the following steps:
- They work carefully with all levels of government to secure written agreements designating the restoration sites as protected in perpetuity.
- They do not plant in logging areas. There is never a 100% guarantee that some form of illegal harvest will not occur. However, they do everything within legal limits to ensure the restoration sites are guaranteed to stand in perpetuity.
- They hire local villagers to plant the trees. In this way, they alleviate extreme poverty within the impacted community. The villagers now have an economic incentive to ensure the wellbeing of the restoration project.
- A minimum of 10% of the trees to be planted are agroforestry species (fruit, fodder and construction species designed to provide food security and benefit legitimate human needs). Over time these trees become a source of sustainable income.
- They do all possible to supply the local villagers with alternative fuel sources (fuel-efficient dry wood stoves and solar parabolic stoves), which reduces and/or eliminates their dependence on charcoal.
- They hire forest guards as part of the labour force. They have recently created a Forest Guard Endowment Fund whereby one cent of the price of each tree is put into a fund for long-term guarding and protection of our sites.
- Most significantly, they have seen the villagers fall in love with their forest. They also recognise and benefit from the restored forest through an increase in fisheries, improved farming, cleaner water and the formation of microenterprises.
How do they track the number of trees planted and determine survival rate?
The Eden team leaders have developed reliable systems for counting and sorting the number of seedlings produced in the nurseries and/or the number of mangrove propagules collected. After the seedlings and propagules are collected and sorted, they are planted within designated sites.
A percentage of seedling and propagule mortality is inevitable. What they have discovered is mortality becomes irrelevant as natural regeneration begins to occur and begins to multiply impact. At their mangrove sites, natural regeneration typically exceeds 200% of the original number planted. The same is true of the dry deciduous sites in Madagascar, and we already see the same multiplication effect in Nepal.
Pictures used with permission.