Reforestation is picking up pace in developing countries to reduce emissions and tackle local problems like poverty. Eden Reforestation Projects is a nonprofit NGO that has been working in developing countries since 2005 to rebuild natural landscapes destroyed by deforestation.
Eden works directly with communities experiencing extreme poverty in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in over 10 project countries. It pays people to restore and protect hundreds of millions of trees in deforested areas.
The NGO employs thousands of local community members and provides them with the education and necessary tools to plant, grow, and protect to maturity, millions of trees each year. It currently plants approximately 30 million trees per month, and is on track to reach over 1 billion planted trees.
According to the nonprofit, it manages to maintain those planting levels even when faced with civic unrest, extreme weather, wild animals, or other disruptions. Also, as forests restore, leaf litter, water, and wildlife return, so nature begins to heal while communities are given new opportunities for economic self-sufficiency.
The reforestation process starts by connecting with local communities and building relationships with local leaders who want their environment to thrive. The communities then guide Eden to planting opportunities. The organization provides economic incentives and simple planting techniques to support those communities in the restoration activities.
The system is kept simple, so it can be easily replicated and implemented by people who don’t have many resources and must deal with treacherous roads, unreliable electricity, and spotty internet.
According to Eden reforestation projects, putting the local community at the center inspires their commitment to reforestation. It also gives them a sense of satisfaction by their ownership of protecting forests long-term.