The island of Madagascar is endowed with natural resources and landscapes that are deemed exceptional worldwide. Unfortunately, the increasing pressure of the population, and their participation in forest burning, is causing progressive and irreversible damage to the primary forests of Madagascar.
The desertification of the Madagascan territory is an issue that must be dealt with quickly in order to preserve soil fertility and the sustainability of the country as a whole. Because of these forest burning, the soil has lost its richness and few species can still grow successfully on this weakened land. Replanting trees is thus necessary in order to restore the fertility of the land and allow the villagers to derive their source of food and income.
Planting around a primary forest
This plot is situated near the Masoala National Park (the largest forested area in Madagascar), which has the dual advantage of protecting the sanctuary by enclosing it in woods that benefit from the park’s biodiversity, and providing easy access to a wide variety of tree species.
A significant social impact
The plant nursery has an annual capacity of 300,000 trees. The seeds are purchased from villagers living along the border of the national park. About thirty people work in the nursery, but the whole village is involved in the transplanting process and the maintenance of the planted trees. Given the large number of applicants, and in order to accommodate a larger number, we organize two or three groups which alternate every week. The salary is about a euro for half a day’s work. Our agreement with the Commune stipulates that it is the residents who transplant the seedlings from the nursery on the site for free. We are not planting a forest ourselves; instead we are educating the villagers to reforest their land themselves. The work of maintaining the plantations is also provided voluntarily by the villagers, and particularly by students.
A wide variety of species
WeForest has already planted 83 different species of trees, under the leadership of two young nursery managers, Olga and Fabrice, who were selected among the local school children, and for whom the local NGO has funded training in the nursery gardening school in the capital. WeForest tries to plant between 5 and 10 % fruit trees, which directly benefit the local population.