Tree Planting

BRIEF SUMMARY

Key Benefits

What We Have Achieved

How We Work

The Project’s Future

What It Costs
By donating to this project, you will be making a huge contribution to RIPPLE Africa’s fight against deforestation. A donation of £25 ($35) pays to grow and plant 100 trees in Malawi, Africa – that’s only 25p per tree. This very small cost is nothing compared to the significant benefit just one tree can provide.

If you’d like to plant thousands of trees, as an individual or a corporate, please get in touch.


FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT
Why Is It So Important?
RIPPLE Africa’s tree planting project is one of the largest and most successful tree planting projects in the north of Malawi. We provide a long-term solution to fighting deforestation in Africa by reducing the demand for wood, causing the destruction of indigenous forests.

RIPPLE Africa’s tree planting project directly fights this by planting thousands of quick-growing trees with farmers, schools and community groups, and these provide a sustainable source of firewood and timber for local people.

  • A well run community tree nursery growing about 4,000 tree seedlings
    A well run community tree nursery growing about 4,000 tree seedlings
  • Club members manage and maintain the tree seedlings ready for planting out in the rainy season
    Club members manage and maintain the tree seedlings ready for planting out in the rainy season

High population growth has been the prime cause of deforestation across Malawi and has led to soil degradation, landslides, drying up of perennial rivers, rain shortages and depletion of wildlife. Wood is taken from indigenous forests for building and to use for cooking. Increasing numbers of people have become involved in the production and sale of charcoal, particularly in areas near towns, further decimating the remaining forests. Trees are also cut down for firewood and timber used for housebuilding or are burned to make space for growing crops.

  • Trees are grown for building and firewood along with fruit trees
    Trees are grown for building and firewood along with fruit trees
  • Providing sustainable fuelwood
    Providing sustainable fuelwood
  • Fruit trees are grown for personal and commercial use
    Fruit trees are grown for personal and commercial use

RIPPLE Africa’s tree planting project is not only about planting trees in Malawi, but also about changing the way people think about their natural environment and the destructive and unsustainable actions which are causing deforestation. By involving farmers, community groups and schools, RIPPLE Africa aims not only to encourage more tree planting in Africa, but to slowly change how people value and use all their natural resources.

  • A good team spirit at Katenthere Tree Club
    A good team spirit at Katenthere Tree Club
  • RIPPLE Africa encourages primary schools to plant trees
    RIPPLE Africa encourages primary schools to plant trees
  • Makwalakwata Primary School has planted over 2,000 trees
    Makwalakwata Primary School has planted over 2,000 trees

RIPPLE Africa first started to address this issue in the area around our base in Nkhata Bay District, providing local communities with quick-growing trees which provide an immediate benefit to the community. They are able to use the trees like a crop – coppicing the tree (cutting off the branches for firewood without felling the whole tree), which then grows back quickly to provide more wood year on year. We also provided community groups with fruit trees – mainly citrus, guava and pawpaw (papaya), which are grown from seed and are very quick and easy to grow and bear good quality fruit. We also grow improved varieties of avocado and mango. This is helping improve household incomes and diet in our local area.

However, we are now increasingly working in Nkhotakota and Mzimba Districts where deforestation is much more severe. Here we are working more with farmers who are prepared to invest a considerable amount of time (it takes up to 15 years to grow a tree large enough to sell for timber) and their own money to ensure that larger numbers of trees can be grown successfully.

What We Have Achieved

Since the project began in 2006, we have planted over 10 million trees in the Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota and Mzimba Districts in Malawi, Africa.

  • Planting out the tree seedlings in December/January, the beginning of the rainy season
    Planting out the tree seedlings in December/January, the beginning of the rainy season
  • A well managed woodlot of pine trees: YEAR 1
    A well managed woodlot of pine trees: YEAR 1
  • Pine trees grow quickly: YEAR 3
    Pine trees grow quickly: YEAR 3

How We Work

RIPPLE Africa’s environmental staff work in partnership with District Forestry staff to identify farmers and community groups who are able to grow seedlings and care for the trees as they grow to maturity. Local climate (rainfall, temperature etc) is taken into consideration when deciding on the species of trees to plant in each area.

We then provide the farmers and groups with just enough seeds for the area that they are going to plant them out into (there is no point planting trees too close together as they will not thrive) and spend time teaching them how to plant and care for them effectively to ensure that they get the maximum number to germinate and grow. The farmers and groups are provided with plastic tubes in which to plant the seeds and with watering cans and other equipment that they will need. We visit the tree nurseries regularly to build up a relationship with the growers, teach them how to care for the trees, monitor the success of each tree nursery and help troubleshoot when problems occur.

We then work with the farmers and groups to teach them how best to prepare the land where the trees will be planted out and learn how to ensure that they grow most effectively once they are in their permanent location. Regular visits ensure that we are able to help maximize the yield from the trees and we monitor the numbers of trees that are successfully planted out.

Although giving the seeds and the equipment to farmers could be seen to be at odds with our ‘providing a hand up not a hand out’ ethos, the farmers themselves have to invest many years of effort to ensure that the trees thrive before they are able to make an income through selling the wood. The provision of the seeds is only the starting point.

The Project’s Future

We intend to increase the numbers of trees grown in Malawi by working with more and more farmers who are able to grow much larger numbers of trees, whilst still working with schools and small community groups.

Malawi is facing a potentially catastrophic shortage of wood and the cost of wood for building and firewood is rising to reflect the shortage of wood in the country. By helping farmers grow fast growing pine and eucalyptus which are in high demand for building – and other fast growing species used for firewood – we are hoping to reduce the pressure on indigenous forests.

We are linking our tree planting project with our Forest Conservation and Changu Changu Moto (fuel efficient cookstove) projects to reinforce the importance of conservation and encourage communities to make more effective use of their remaining natural resources.

  • Seedlings in black polythene tubes — tree planting in Africa
    Seedlings in black polythene tubes — tree planting in Africa

Links to Documents

Videos

Makwalakwata School Tree Nursery (4:45)

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