Forests are key to life on earth. Oxygen, habitat, carbon sequestration, medicinal plants, home to native people, places of wildness and wonder—they do it all. Yet they’re disappearing fast, thanks to farming, ranching, oil drilling, firewood gathering and charcoal production, palm and cocoa plantations, urbanization—and now climate change.
Through our If a Tree Falls… program, NCP is supporting reforestation in Myanmar, South Sudan, the DR Congo, Rwanda, Malawi and the Ecuadorian Amazon, with new partnerships in Nepal and Nigeria. In some areas, $10 plants 100 trees; in others, it's 2 trees for $1 - still reasonable. How? Jimmy Zan in Myanmar gathers avocado pits from local restaurants; in South Sudan, Paskwale Ben is using land his uncle loans him. Women in Rwanda aren't so lucky - they have to rent land from local landowners to have space to grow trees for fruit and for reforestation. In Nigeria, our partner is restoring mangroves in the Niger Delta in a forest preserve, so the land is "free."
If a Tree Falls...
NCP’s program for reforestation and rainforest preservation
In the Ecuadorian Amazon, we support native communities as they protect the forest and preserve their own culture.
Young Victor has seen our groups come to his Cofan community for over a decade, learning about the rainforest from his grandfather, chief shaman Aurelio. This has encouraged him to want to study to become a shaman as well.
We also support Kichwah and Shuar people as they educate their own people and outsiders about the importance of the forest – for them, and for the world.
Here’s the album from our recent Learning Tour.
And then there's palm oil - the nemesis of tropical forests around the world. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Robin McDowell featured NCP friend Olivia Chaffin as she took on the Girl Scouts over palm oil in their cookies, both for environmental reasons and because of child and slave labor on the plantations. Here's the article.
What can the rest of us do?
Share this article with others. People often just don't know.
Buy whole (unprocessed) foods (no palm oil there, plus cheaper and healthier) and check labels on everything. Follow Olivia's lead: challenge the companies who make things we use that contain palm oil. Don't let them get away with the "sustainably produced" excuse.
Write our Senators and ask them to support a bill to stop importing palm oil produced with child labor.
Support NCP's Million Tree Campaign. We are actively supporting our friend, Siona shaman Delio, and other native communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon who are fighting off the palm oil corporations.
Myanmar, South Sudan, Malawi, the DR Congo, Nepal, Nigeria
If a Tree Falls… supports reforestation through its partners in East and Southern and West Africa and South Asia. We provide the funding, they provide the expertise and community connections.
In Myanmar, we work with communities in the cyclone-prone SW delta to plant trees in any available space, and NCP partner and trekking guide Saw Jimmy Zan (right) works to reforest badly deforested hill areas of Central Burma. He’ll plant 20,000 trees this year with our support. Of this reforestation site he says, "When I come here, this is my paradise."
We have started working with our partner in Nepal, the anti-trafficking organization Shakti Samuha, to initiate reforestation done by women's groups. “Climate change leads to migration which leads to insecurity and vulnerability for girls and women to be trafficked,” Shakti leaders told us.
Every $1 plants 10 trees!
In East Africa, population pressures, charcoal production and firewood gathering are big causes of deforestation—which then leads to soil erosion and erratic rainfall patterns. This, in turn, leads to even more conflict in these war-ridden lands, as there is less good land to go around.
Congolese women have had to walk into isolated areas to gather firewood, and sometimes are attacked. We’re bringing the forests to the women, planting 45,000 fruit, medicinal and firewood trees over the next three years near their communities.
In Nigeria, we are helping restore mangrove forests in Niger delta. Mangrove forests have been destroyed around the world, yet they sequester carbon at four times the rate of tropical rain forests, playing a key role in addressing climate change. They also reduce flooding and erosion from storms, act as nurseries for fish, filter pollutants from water, and can serve to buffer the impact of cyclones and tsunamis on coastal communities by 75 percent! Our partner, the Tropical Conservation Centre, is taking a holistic approach, including community education and involvement, promotion of wood-conserving stoves, and the development of alternative income sources to stem deforestation.
In Malawi, climate change is wreaking havoc with agriculture, causing people to turn to charcoal production for income, leading to massive deforestation. We are joining with Creative Solutions to address this situation on many levels, including supporting their reforestation efforts.
We also work at the "demand side" of deforestation, helping Congolese women learn to make wood-conserving cook stoves. Compared to cooking over open fires, these stoves use 80 percent less wood! And the women can also make stoves to sell, earning $1 per stove.
Help us preserve forests!
$10 plants 100 trees
100 trees offsets 5000 pounds of CO2 every year!
$6 provides materials and instruction for a woman to learn to make a cook stove
or send checks directly to NCP
NCP Learning Tours visit all these places—join us!
100 percent of donations to If a Tree Falls… and NCP’s other Special Projects go to the programs themselves—really!