9th May 2020: Today’s forest Report. (from Lovemore) We went to ...
Tree planting “has mind-blowing potential” to tackle climate crisis
In Ireland, there has been too much talk and too little action…
Now, finally, there is a plan to nullify our carbon footprint over the next 20 years by planting 22 million trees per year, for 4.9 million people. That is about 5 trees per person per year, at a cost of about €20 each. Will they achieve this, who knows?
Wells for Zoë however are on track to plant over 4 million trees this season. Our cost to sow a tree in Malawi is 10 cents, so we can go a long way to nullifying your carbon footprint for 50 cents.
Of course, to be absolutely sure, we could plant 10 trees for €1 per year – or maybe include your extended family for €10 – and then do it every year for the next 10 years. Take control of our future ourselves and not leave it to the politicians?
If you are a company you could cover all your staff, and their transport to and from work, including business flights. Talk to us and see what you need. No lofty talk of carbon credits or offsets, but just a responsible nod to our environment.
We have the people to reduce your carbon footprint
We can calculate to remove the impact of: transport, flights, holidays, meals out, anything else we do that has an impact on the CO2 levels.
Can we work together?
The poorest villagers, with our help, can plant trees in Malawi for a basic cost of 10 cents per tree.
Last year we planted 2.3 million trees, and even got the National PMI Award for it in November 2019. This year we are on target for 4 million.
As well as directly from our website, we work on a platform called Trillion Tree Campaign / Plant for the Planet where we are among the cheapest growers in the world – partly because all overheads and expenses are covered by our founders under our 100% donation promise.
At present we are working with explore.land and others to set up a system to display the GPS Polygons we record to show all of our plantations (which are small community units from 5000 to 15000 trees). Our guys record them at the plantation using an app and WhatsApp them back before we add them to a database for our website. We hope to be able to present all these results by the end of the season when trees will be visible from satellite imagery and/or drone footage. Up to this we had just been using standard GPS embedded camera images to show Google Map locations.
Where we work
Malawi is a small country in Central East Africa with a population of about 18 million and about one and a half times the size of Ireland.
Over the past 15 years since we first set up there, deforestation has become a major problem where trees are felled in ever increasing numbers to support the tobacco industry, for export making the rich richer, and for making charcoal and cooking.
Clean water is our main focus, but at the end of 2017 we decided we had to do something about tree planting. We set an ambitious target of planting 1 million trees in an area with no history of planting trees with a slogan of “there is money in trees”. Our villagers managed to reach 2.3 million trees planted, and Wells for Zoë were awarded the PMI Award for Social Good in the voluntary sector, in November 2019. So maybe we are doing something right!
Wells for Zoë supports the poorest, remote rural farmers to plant a range of trees, mainly coppicing varieties of Pine and Eucalyptus, to enable them to escape from dire poverty, while feeding and educating their families. The benefit of these trees is that they re-grow immediately when they are cut, so there is no clear felling. We give the villagers the seeds, potting tubes and training and they do all the work. The trees belong to them and they will manage and protect them as their livelihood and future.
As a bonus for achieving targets we supply villages with fruit trees such as Apples, Guava, Papaya, Pears, Citruses, Mango and Avocado, together with medicinal trees like Neem and Moringa as appropriate for the range of climatic conditions we work in. They also plant woodlots which can later be used for timber for buildings and for firewood.
We also support the poorest villagers in planting a special tree/shrub, Tephrosia, which is used for nitrogen fixing and pest control, enabling them to have excellent crops of local maize without using expensive fertilizer or noxious chemicals.
Also, we grow a unique tree, Musango, which has a rooting system bigger that the tree itself and the potential to store enormous amounts of Carbon with the bonus that its leaves store nitrogen and fall as fertiliser as the crops under them begin to grow.
In our calculations we treat trees that are coppiced as a more temporary store of carbon so therefore plant more of them to have the same effect as a tree that grows for many years. Trees planted specifically for coppicing give a regular controlled source of wood and carbon storage. Not only does this tree planting system provide a source of food and income but it also reduces the pressure on remaining natural forests.
It’s no big deal: we show the communities how to sow seeds in tree nurseries, train them on how to look after their seedlings, how to prepare their land and then how to manage their trees as they grow.
Trees grow much faster in Malawi than here in Ireland. The two main varieties we grow are Pine which mature in 15 to 20 years and Eucalyptus which produce long straight marketable poles in 5 years. The magic is that once cut they re-grow straight away from the original stems.
We also grow a range of Acacia and Mtangatanga and numerous other indigenous local varieties.
Tobacco production has a big part to play in deforestation and with the assistance of the Department of Forestry Research people we are looking at a very fast growing bamboo that the tobacco people are beginning to use instead of chopping down natural forestry trees.
CARBON Footprint ‘Offset’ projects
Adopting energy efficient lifestyles and shifting to renewable energy are an important part of the solution to reducing global carbon emissions, but we will still generate emissions.
Carbon neutrality requires that we nullify these remaining emissions.
Wells for Zoë are currently using tree planting to do this and moving into a more biodiverse reforestation programme as a carbon sink, or put simply, a place to absorb and store CO2 from the atmosphere.
We are encouraging companies, families, and individuals to assist us and choose a positive option according to their respective social and environmental goals and values.