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Planting trees in tropical countries is one of the most effective ways of combating global warming because vegetation grows faster there than in temperate regions and because deforestation activities are the most intense there. arboRise is based on this tropical specificity.
Current reforestation projects are expensive (around 2,000 euros per hectare) and are poorly adapted to local conditions. The local population becomes dependent on Western aid and a small percentage of the investment reaches directly the goal for which it was intended. Therefore, another approach is needed and the Africans themselves must be better involved.
Starting with the location of the reforestation. Instead of planting trees in the desert, as many projects do, it is necessary to choose an area where it rains. Without rain, there are no trees. This is why arboRise is active in Guinea: the strong rainy season (4000 mm / year in Conakry) favours the growth of vegetation. Like Switzerland and its Alps, Guinea is called “the water tower of West Africa” because three major rivers (Niger, Senegal, Gambia) are born there and supply water to several neighbouring countries suffering from recurrent drought. Moreover, according to scientific studies, the reforestation of the coastal strip of West Africa could strengthen the monsoon and thus bring back the rains to the Sahel.
Secondly, it is necessary to reforest where there are not too many people, so as not to hinder human activities. The region of Upper Guinea, close to Mali, is the most suitable: it contains many large national parks and is less densely populated. Concretely, our reforestation takes place in 26 villages of the sub-prefecture of Linko in the bush east of the small town of Kerouané.
Thirdly, the populations concerned need to be interested. For this reason, the seeds are collected locally from small farming families in the region, each of whom owns one of the trees of one of the 40 local species chosen. In addition to improving the standard of living of these families, enhancing the value of their seeds should encourage them to rediscover their tree-related traditions, which they have often lost or overlooked due to colonisation. Each species of tree – baobab, cheese tree, kapok, shea, moringa, etc. – has its own specific characteristics, its usefulness and virtues. It is worth rediscovering this ancestral knowledge. The same principle applies for seed dispersal: arboRise opts for another site-adapted method: direct sowing.
arboRise is aimed at private and corporate donors in high-income countries who want to combat global warming and help Africa without engaging in neo-colonialism.
For 200 CHF, each donor contributes to replanting an entire hectare and supports a local family by buying their forest seeds.