Prioritise regenerative resources, Strengthen and advance knowledge, Design for the future
12Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
15Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
One Billion Trees for Africa is a response to the large-scale degradation of land in Africa, where the effects of climate change, droughts and extreme weather events are most severe. Tree planting is critical to Africa’s farming future; it offers a cost-effective way for rural households not just to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, but to transform rural areas into profit centres that are also beneficial to the ecosystem as a whole. It’s for this reason that agroforestry is a central component of the 2021-2030 UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, a global effort to accelerate efforts to reverse centuries of damage to forests, wetlands and other ecosystems.
One Billion Trees’ founder Tabi grew up in the forest, spending hours playing among the trees in the Mambila Plateau between Cameroon and Nigeria. But as he got older, deforestation meant there were fewer trees to climb. The environmental toll also carried a human one, with more and more of his childhood friends making the dangerous trip to Libya in search of employment and opportunity in Europe.
Some came back, but many did not. It was then that Tabi decided he had a responsibility not only to the memory of his friends but also to their community and the planet.
One Billion Trees for Africa’s approach is to work directly with the people who depend on land-based natural resources to promote forest products and services for income, employment, food and well-being. By planting a combination of trees, including primarily native species, people benefit from the food, medicine, animal feed, and other ecosystem services that the forest provides. By providing green economic opportunities, members of the community are now returning and earning income from these resources.
The revitalised forest has also improved the community’s capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. To date the initiative has planted over three million trees, restored over 80 hectares of land and created 89 jobs in agroecology and forest restoration. In doing so the initiative has brought back would-be climate migrants from Liberia to Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria.