Planting trees in unconventional ways: meet Trees for the Future

Tree planting

Yes, we are impact-makers, but it’s all thanks to our environmental partners who make possible the work we do. Our collaboration with Trees For The Future brings us a lot of joy, and this is why we asked Florence Glavin, partnerships coordinator to tell us more!

Tell us about Trees for The Future. What makes it different?

While every tree-planting organization does important work around the world (whether it’s to reforest burnt areas, restore mangroves, etc.), at Trees for the Future (TREES), we focus not only on restoring the environment. We also work closely with farmers to help them develop healthy, vibrant Forest Gardens that will put them on the pathway out of poverty and hunger.

How was the Forest Garden Approach developed? Who came up with it? What is it?

In 2014, after decades of reforestation work throughout the world in many different projects, TREES decided that the Forest Garden approach had the most impact in terms of long-term land restoration and improvement of lives. It is the result of many years of project implementations, data collection, and observation.

Is there a right or a wrong way to do tree planting to help us overcome the climate crisis?

To ensure success, it is unfortunately sometimes not enough to plant a seed and hope it grows and survives. Ideally, seeds need to grow into saplings in a nursery and become strong enough to take root a few months later. They will need rain or be watered in the first few months. With TREES, farmers develop nurseries 3 months before the planting season.

What can a farmer expect when they decide to partner with you to turn their lands into agroforests? 

Upon joining our program, the farmers will start with the design of their Forest Garden on paper with the help of our local training staff. They will start receiving quality tools, such as hoes, watering cans, and wheelbarrows. They will be trained by our local staff on many subjects over the next 4 years (pruning, composting, coppicing, pest management, seed collection & storage, vertical space management, and so much more). 3 months before the expected rains, they will establish nurseries, and plant their first hundreds of trees once the rainy season is underway. They can expect year-round access to nutritious foods, and an increase in income, while restoring the environment. 

How do you know that the Forest Garden Approach is having a positive environmental impact on the ecosystem where it is inserted?

The current method to monitor the return of biodiversity and restoration of the ecosystem is as old as humans: farmers and villagers tell us how they see and hear birds that have gone from the area. We see and touch the soil that has transitioned from sandy or clayish to darker, richer soil. We feel the cooler temperatures within the Forest Garden as we step out of the crushing sun into the shade of the trees. 

What is a rare fact about trees you’d like to share with the world?

The trees we plant are a higher source of steady income alive than dead. While cutting down a tree will provide temporary fuel to cook or sell, a living tree can be pruned and coppiced to stay strong. Its pruned branches and leaves can be used for fuel, but are also a great source of fodder for the farmer’s animals during the dry season. They are a gift that keeps on giving.

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