News / Science & Technology

Trees for the Future Planting Seeds Around the World

Trees for the Future puts their focus on deforested regions around the world to help bring back degraded lands through the planting of trees.

Growing fruit trees in Africa
Growing fruit trees in Africa
Rebecca Ward

The legendary American Johnny Appleseed secured his place in history for promoting the planting of apple trees throughout the young United States.  Now, more than 200 years later, an environmental organization is doing much the same thing.  However, the focus of Trees for the Future is on deforested regions around the world.

Ethan Budiansky, Head of International Programs at Trees for the Future, says trees can bring degraded lands back to life.

"They increase the amount of biomass.  A lot of the trees being planted are nitrogen-fixing.  They bring water tables back.  They increase drinking water and irrigation water for the people that are planting the trees."

In Ethiopia, Washington-based Trees for the Future has distributed about 1.9 million trees.  Program Coordinator for Ethiopia, Gabriel Buttram, says the program works with local communities to promote green agroforestry techniques that also help increase productivity.

He says by fixing nitrogen and using green fertilizers, such as leaves from the trees, planters can increase household food security.  At the same time,  Buttram says, growing trees can provide the locals with a source of income when they sell their mangos and papayas, or maringa leaves.

Deforestation is a serious environmental problem, often leading to soil erosion and degradation.  Budiansky says one of the reasons for deforestation is what he calls "slash and burn" agriculture.  The trees are cut down, the land is burned to clear it for crops.  Once the corn, beans or perhaps peanuts have depleted the land of nutrients, the farmers leave, and cattle eat what little greenery still grows on the land.

“A recent FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) report says we are losing somewhere around 13-million hectares of trees per year.  That's about an area the size of (the U.S. state of) Rhode Island being cut daily."

One of the worst-hit areas of this disastrous practice is in Kenya, where Trees for the Future’s David Tye is the Regional Coordinator for East and Southern Africa.

"It has about two percent of the original forest cover left in Kenya.  The other countries, Uganda and Tanzania, are not as bad, but still getting worse every year."

Tye says he encourages people to plant trees near their homes and farms, and the idea has taken root, especially in Kenya.

"People realize they need to plant trees.  It's gotten so bad that women have to travel farther and farther for firewood.  Adults talk about their childhood, how this forest used to be here but now it's gone.  So people are really interested in planting trees now."

Trees for the Future has projects in 26 countries across the globe.  Last year alone, the organization helped put more than 17 million trees in the ground.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid