Trees are vital for people in our region: they protect the soil, maintain the water cycle, and provide fuel, food and medicine. Flowering and fruiting trees also attract wildlife, increasing biodiversity.
Green Care nurtures a variety of local tree species in our nursery, collecting the seeds and caring for the seedlings until they are mature enough to be planted out. These are used to protect water catchments, and to restore and expand community forests throughout our region and beyond.
We take three main approaches to reforestation:
- We train and encourage farmers and families to plant fast-growing species on their farms and near their homes.
- We work with village water-management committees to plant trees to protect water courses and springs.
- We support the groups that manage our region’s four community forests: Viyon, Bihkov, Kovndzeen and Mbokam.
Successful tree planting needs more than just saplings and labour, however; it has to comply with local systems of land ownership and resource management. In 1994, the Cameroon Government established a new category of community forests, which meant that some groups could officially manage the forests around their villages. We work with traditional committees and with government legislation to restore montane forests.
Alongside these activities, we supply seedlings to Kumbo Council and other interested individuals and groups. We are also helping a neighbouring school to set up its own tree nursery.
Much of this work is done on tree-planting days. For example, in water-catchment and water-spring sites, we work with existing water-management committees to identify a ‘zero-activity zone’, which is demarcated and fenced with live fencing. Firebreaks – cleared land that won’t burn – are established inside and outside the fence. We then hold a festive tree-planting day, during which men, women and children from the community join together to plant saplings in the protected area.
We only use local species, as these help to preserve our native biodiversity and provide a habitat for wildlife. For community and watershed forests, we focus on bee-friendly and medicinal species. These can provide community members with an income, which helps to garner support for managing and protecting the trees as they grow.