Tree planting campaigns offer much needed hope for endangered trees in Africa. For decades Africa’s trees have contended with the danger of extinction. Trees such as the baobab and Southern Africa’s quiver tree have reduced significantly and face extinction in many countries. This danger is a direct result of high levels of deforestation in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, Africa’s forest cover has reduced significantly and this has been a harbinger of a wealth of negative ramifications. These include rising food insecurity for example in the Sahel, mudslides for example in Sierra Leone and the loss of biodiversity. This begs the question of what has been the root cause of endangered trees in Africa.
Deforestation in Africa is primarily conducted for commercial purposes. These include the provision of firewood as a source of fuel. Rampant cutting of trees in Africa has also occurred to cater for growing populations and for urbanization needs. Despite the driving forces, deforestation leads to several negative effects. However, there is hope because the danger to African trees is man-made and thus has man-made solutions.
Tree Planting Campaigns as a beacon of hope for Africa’s endangered trees
One of these man-made solutions is the ongoing wave of tree planting campaigns. Many African countries have undertaken several initiatives to rehabilitate the forest cover through tree planting campaigns. These initiatives are a beacon of hope for endangered trees as they not only discourage needless logging but also enhance the perpetuity of tree species. In Kenya, the green belt movement has gained international acclaim for advancing the agenda of environmental conservation. By planting over fifty million trees, the movement has been a symbol of hope for Kenya’s endangered trees. In Senegal, ‘Trees for the Future’ has lived up to its name by facilitating reforestation. In addition to tree planting campaigns, the organization has also taught farmers on alternative sources of energy to protect endangered trees. Other projects include African Union’s Great Green wall of the Sahara, a major tree planting campaign across the Sahel. Notably although operating in different countries, all the tree planting campaigns seek to influence local participation in the projects.
As aforementioned, deforestation is a manmade problem and thus tree planting campaigns can only be successful if they involve the locals. This is because the locals are often the perpetrators of endangering trees through uncontrolled logging. Local participation in tree planting campaigns thus creates the buy-in that is necessary for the success of tree planting campaigns. This approach also shows deforestation perpetrators the direct benefits of planting trees. Kenya’s ‘tree sisters’ for example uses women to plant trees as they are the direct beneficiaries through enhanced food security. The project has been quite successful as more women are interested in the tree planting campaign after witnessing its benefits. Local participation in tree planting is thus a precursor to the success of reforestation that ultimately offers hope to Africa’s endangered trees.