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Over the past one hundred years, roughly half of the world’s forests have disappeared. The most extreme case of deforestation have taken place within the boundaries of the poorest nations on Earth – a pattern which has brought devastating consequences and has resulted in the world’s most vulnerable people suffering with the greatest impact of land degradation. WeForest’s mission is to break this cycle by addressing two of the greatest, and interdependent, problems facing our planet this century: extreme poverty and deforestation.
Less than forty years ago, the West Coast of Madagascar had healthy mangrove and dry deciduous forest systems in place. Unfortunately mangrove trees are the poor man’s lumber in Madagascar, while the dry deciduous trees are preliminary cut down for fuel and construction. The problem of this widespread felling has been compounded by the burning of the forest to clear pastureland, resulting in 85% of Madagascar’s ecosystem being destroyed. Thankfully, it is not too late to rebuild the region’s multiple eco-systems.
What is the objective?
WeForest has been pleased to see that on top of restoring the local ecosystem, the workers employed are more self-sufficient as a result of our involvement. They are now able to repair their homes after the cyclone season, send their children to school. experience a balanced diet, pay for medical services, and even purchase comfortable clothing.
A wide variety of species
1. Collecting Seeds: The seeds, or propagules, fall from the tree like arrows when they are mature and stick into the soft mud where they quickly sprout. Working in the muddy estuaries is a very challenging physical task, but with perseverance once the seeds are harvested from the forest, the propagules are sorted by species and put into jute bags in preparation for transport to the reforestation sites.
2. Clearing the Reforestation Sites: Before planting, the previously deforested areas need to be cleared from all debris caused by illegal loggers only interested in the valuable trunks, leaving behind a considerable amount of debris. It is our role to ensure that the debris is not wasted: some can be used for cooking fuel, but the majority is helpful for building a protective wall around the area to be replanted.
3. Planting the Propagules: Finally, leveraging the neap tide, the workers being planting the ripe propagules. This task involves eh entire team getting into their canoes with the jute bags, filled with thousands of propagules. Within a matter of hours tens of thousands of propagules are being planted.
When can planting take place?
Gathering and sorting propagules happens all year long. September, when the long rainy season starts, is when most ripe propagules can be collected. Planting around the tides only permits (2) six-day planting sessions each month.