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Planting trees counters effects of deforestation

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Deforestation is one of the greatest challenges facing many African nations today. It is an environmental concern that impacts the daily lives of farmers across Africa. Deforestation increases the likelihood for drought, famine and poverty to develop. As populations increase, land is cleared for food production and fuel energy. The best way to slow down rampant deforestation is to support the empowerment of rural communities to plant more trees and manage existing forests in a sustainable way.

Since its foundation in 1984, CPAR has planted over 60 million trees in Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda combined, providing farmers with the means to confront the effects of deforestation and climate change. In countries such as Malawi, 90% of the population uses wood for household needs such as cooking. As a result, tree planting is considered an important activity among farmers.

For example, Mathanki Mikisoni, a Farmer Field School (FFS) member in Lilongwe District, has been planting trees for over 25 years. He says, “Before I got married, my father advised me to plant trees. He told me that I would learn about the importance of trees as my wife will need firewood for cooking – and for that reason I will need to plant trees every year.”

He goes on to say, “When our farmer field school was established in our village I was one of the first members to join. CPAR trained us in crop production, livestock production, and tree planting. The training in tree planting really touched my heart and changed my perspective on trees. I received information on fast growing tree varieties, learned about exotic trees, tree cutting and preservation methods, and the immediate benefits of exotic trees. Through the FFS I was also able to share my experience on growing indigenous trees with other FFS members”.

Participating farmers are equipped with seeds, watering cans, planting tools, and the knowledge and expertise to cut down portions of the trees without cutting down the entire tree. This method allows for trees to grow – while still meeting the needs for fire wood.

Environmental preservation is one of CPAR’s number one goals. Trees are a source of life. They increase food production, add moisture to the air, and combat famine.

Since its inception, CPAR has planted more than 66,770,000 trees in Sub-Saharan Africa. Plant a Tree and help improve the environment, and the health of families in Sub-Saharan Africa.