The Comptoir Immobilier, a partner of the Geneva-based NGO OneAction is supporting the innovative reforestation project in three arid areas with diverse climates. Given the current health crisis, India continues its containment and Haiti faces social unrest crippling the deployment of NGO activities. Samburu in Kenya is therefore the first region in which the project is being initiated. This reforestation model is innovative as it will bring together three components: the latest research findings in biogeochemistry to select tree species capable of permanently sequestering carbon in soils (“oxalogen” trees) and regenerating soils efficiently; effective agroforestry techniques to optimize tree growth and survival rates; and the transmission of these techniques within local communities.
The initial goal is to plant 150’000 trees in three regions particularly affected by climate change.
Here is a status update from OneAction on recent progress in Kenya:
While a partial decontamination had been initiated on July 6, the country has since stepped up measures following a surge in Covid-19 cases, particularly in the previously relatively unscathed Samburu region. However, at the end of August, the field team managed to finalize the purchase of the ideal vehicle to allow the reforestation team to go to the villages: a second-hand Hino Motors 4×4 truck in perfect condition. The project was thus able to officially start at the beginning of September 2020 with the transformation of the vehicle. Indeed, as planned in the schedule, the first 6 months of the project are devoted to preparations (fitting out the vehicle for the transport of the team and the seedlings, preparation of the theoretical training material, purchase of the planting tools, etc.). The launch of reforestation activities and training in the villages, meanwhile, is scheduled for March 2021.
This seems all the more prudent to us because, given the uncertainty of the evolution of Covid-19, we cannot take the risk of spreading the virus among local tribes at this time. We will be closely monitoring the evolution of the pandemic over the next few months, and hope that 2021 will bring better news and allow us to start trainings and reforestation activities in the villages as planned.
Over the past few months, the field team has focused on developing and maintaining the nursery, in order to increase its capacity. In particular, Moringa stenopetala, Croton megalocarpus, Olea africana, Vitex keniensis, Tamarindus indica and Dovyalis caffra have been planted. These are all indigenous and particularly drought resistant species, suitable for families who would not have access to water to maintain them. While some species germinate in a few weeks, others such as Olea africana and Vitex keniensis can take up to nine months to germinate. It was therefore important to get the seeds in the ground well before reforestation activities began.
The seeds were planted in the field in the early morning.
During the lockdown, the Sadhana Forest team was fortunately able to continue its usual activities in the immediate perimeter of its campus, namely to provide agroforestry trainings to the neighboring communities and to mentor families who have already received some trees and wish to expand their food forests. In the same way that the reforestation team will do on a larger scale from 2021, the field team present on campus has been helping these families since 2014 to better manage their land and produce food in a sustainable way, by planting food trees alongside their vegetable crops. Some tree species, such as the African variety Moringa stenopetala, grow incredibly fast, even in these difficult conditions, allowing families to harvest and cook the leaves within a year of planting.
The team is also helping to develop a new way to grow food.