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Stakeholders Promoting Forest Conservation, Reforestation

By Frank Gregory, Director, Green Land Group

The greater Kilimanjaro region represents one of the most threatened ecosystems on earth. If these multiple biomes fail, it will impact millions of people and biodiversity across several countries. Forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture and cross-border cooperation can help save this region in the face of climate change and surging populations.

In Tanzania, for example, Lushoto district is home to 50,000 people across several villages. Deforestation and land conversion to agriculture has been a huge problem—even in the Magamba Reserve—9,700 protected hectares in the Usambara Mountains.

Deforestation is causing desertification and a severe drop in local food production. Poverty and hunger threaten the survival of several communities. Biodiversity across the region also is threatened, as more critical habitat is lost each year to agriculture a sprawling human population.

To make matters worse, a war between crop farmers and livestock keepers erupted between 2008 and 2009. It destroyed agriculture lands and promoted soil erosion across the region. It also destroyed local irrigation systems, which is exasperating the problem. The Magamba Forest Reserve now experiences frequent fires. The rest of the forest is under siege to meet timber demands and charcoal production.

reforestation and climate change

Our goal is to reforest degraded areas in the Usambara Mountains with indigenous trees and grasses. We also will promote agroforestry and sustainable agriculture, including fruit trees. We will plant 250,000 trees across the region. So far, we have planted 50,000 trees and restored more than 400 hectares in Lushoto District. If we achieve our goal, more than 2,000 animal species will regain their habitat, helping to restore biodiversity.

The projects will help provide clean drinking water, while empowering women with education and other resources. We also will distribute stoves that are more efficient and require less firewood. The projects will include all stakeholders, including farmers, beekeepers, landowners, local chiefs and Traditional Authorities, to district Forestry Commissions, Water Boards.

Planting the trees helps regulate the climate. At the same time, we want to improve agroforestry, water harvesting and livestock management. In Lushoto District, we plan to restore 10 water resources. This involves removing invasive species and materials and planting native trees around the resources to ensure their sustainable use.

The restoration project will help restore the Magamba Forest Reserve, while restoring the livelihood of the community of Lushoto district through more employment opportunities and increased food production.

There are many bird species in the area, including owls, swifts, Caprimulgus guttifer (Usambara nightjar) Bubo vosseleri (Usambara eagle owl), Neocossyehus poensis (White tailed ant-thrush), Turdus pelios (African thrush), Turdus roehli (Usambara thrush), Sheppardia Montana (Usambara akalat), Nectarinia usambaricus (Usambara sunbird), Ploceus melanogaster (Black billed weaver) and Pachyphates supperciliosus (Compact weaver). Local wildlife includes bush pig, black and white Colobus monkeys, rabbits, antelope and squirrels.

The Green Land Group assists local communities with their daily needs where it can have the largest sustainable impact. The proposed project will support communities to restore impacted areas providing alternative income sources through land restoration. The project is one of many that can help save critical ecosystems across East Africa, while helping us all defend the planted from global warming and climate change.

It costs $1.50 to grow each seedling and plant them properly. To learn more, please write to me directly at

deforestation and global warming and climate change

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservationreforestationurban forestrycarbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management is critical to the survival of entire ecosystemsSacred Seedlings is a charitable division of Crossbow Communications.

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Avatar Gary Chandler

Author: Gary Chandler

Gary Chandler is the founder and Executive Director of Sacred Seedlings.