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When Pujini began planting trees in 2007, Community Forests Pemba felt they’d connected with a community capable of changing their landscape from a barren coral rag wasteland, void of growth, into a dynamic forest ecosystem. The community had incredible success in their nursery and managed to raise over 25,000 seedlings in their first season. The rocky coral earth was difficult to cultivate, but the trees began to take hold, and it looked as though the trees would grow and thrive in the harsh environment.
Unfortunately two issues curbed their efforts in 2008. Lacking the financial resources necessary to pay for government land surveys in Pujini, Community Forests Pemba was unable to legislate a Rural Community Management Plan in order to protect the planted trees at the community level. Unaware of the consequences of goat and cattle grazing on the newly planted trees, members of a neighboring community let their goats graze on land bordering the community forest, and many of the goats wandered through the planted forest, feeding on many of 25,000 trees planted the previous season. By the time anyone realized the implications of goat grazing in the planted forest, the damage was done and Pujini had to learn the importance of a natural resource management plan the hard way.
2008 also proved a poor growing season for Pujini, and many of the 50,000 seedlings the community tried to propagate in the nursery suffered under the harsh sun as water grew scarce in the months of January and February.
Community Forests Pemba is continuing to support Pujini for the 2009-2010 growing and planting season and hopes that many of the lessons learned will help inform the growth of the project. Pujini is now collaborating with local goatherds to establish clear demarcations for goat and livestock grazing, while additional infrastructure in the nursery will provide water in the drier months.
If you would like to support Pujini in either acquiring the land survey necessary to protect their trees or through the purchase of a water tank to store water during the dryer months please visit the get involved section of the website.