If you plant a tree, you are contributing to something that is greater than yourself. Trees can outlive humans, passing on the hopeful acts of yesterday for the benefit of tomorrow. But what are we passing on to future generations today? The world loses 50 football fields worth of trees each and every minute. Over 1 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods and we all depend on forests for clean air, a stable climate, nutrients, healthy soils and pure water. Are we working to maintain these life-essential services or are we threatening them?
In 2007, Community Forests International and Pemban communities began to collect seeds from nearby forests. These seeds were sprouted in nurseries, which were built in the centre of each participating village. These nurseries became community centers, serving as a place for women to meet, weave baskets, share news and grow trees. Community Forests International worked to keep the cost of growing trees as low as possible, for the organization believed that knowledge and information should be the only exchange necessary for community involvement. Over the years communities trained each other, shared best practices, swapped seeds and even shared seedlings when pests or disease destroyed neighbouring nurseries. Since 2007, over one million trees have been planted for fruit, timber and conservation.
One million trees and counting. Pembans are sending a clear message to future generations: We care about you and are doing everything that we can to ensure that the natural world survives to support you. Without forests, humanity itself cannot survive.
“We have planted these trees because we want to help our families. To provide incomes and food but we have planted also because we want ou children to know these trees.” — Farma Rashid Seif, Community Member and Tree Planter, Pujini, Tanzania
To foster environmental stewardship internationally by establishing community forests, promoting sustainable forestry techniques and initiating environmental education.