There is a global consensus that trees play a critical role in replenishing minerals and water in top soils from the vast reserves deeper down and in the bigger picture restoring habitats and climates. Massive collective action and resources have been mobilised around the world to improve management of existing forests and plant new trees where they have been lost to poor management.
Planting has worked well in wet-wet environments though planting new forestsÂ is often slow, costly and tends towards mono-cultures because its impossible to replicate the natural mosaic mix of indigenous species.
In the wet-dry environments that make up most of the tropical and sub-tropic regions around the planet, survival ratesÂ from tree planting has been extremely disappointing due to the long dry seasons where moisture is scarce. Cultures are not adapted to tree planting so aftercare is rare.
Successful afforestationÂ in AfricaÂ has only been achieved on any significant scale by pruning cut trees that that are still alive in the form of stumps, bushes and shrubs and still fed by big root systems. Â Fortunately most of the trees that have been cut in Zambia are still alive in some form and will respond quickly to this restoration method. The technology is well know and used widely in traditional villages to restore trees to improve aesthetics.
FMNR Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration has been successful in unlikely countries such as Niger Republic where socio-political organisation is poor and people have the worst qualities of life in the world. As with other resources in the commons, security of tenure over resources plays a key role in whether people invest in regeneration or continue unsustainable plunder.
At Grassroots Trust we focus on mobilising communities to build local robust usufruct arrangements to encourage self-regulation and security of tenure. If laws need to change to enhance engagement of local stakeholders we mobilise appropriate partners to achieve changes needed.
We conditionally scan the globe for technologies that actually achieve regeneration and help adapt them to our local context.