Bringing back forests without planting trees in Tanzania



Joshi is Ecosia's content lead. He likes this planet.

Climate change has arrived in Iyenge, Tanzania, in a very real way. The dry seasons have grown longer and hotter. The rains are unpredictable. Simple things, such as making sure there’s enough water for everyone, have become a matter of concern.

We know that trees can help Iyenge’s community adapt. Trees provide shade for crops, prevent erosion, and bolster the water cycle. The problem: we can’t plant trees in Iyenge. The climate in this part of Tanzania has become too harsh for tree saplings to survive. Our Tanzanian tree-planting partner, the LEAD Foundation, knew it had to find another way to bring back trees.

Iyenge’s villagers know that trees protect their crops from the sun and improve soil fertility.

Together with local communities, it did. Kiski Hai, also known as FMNR, is a method that regenerates forests without planting trees. It’s simple, cheap, and scalable. All you have to do is find a shrub and prune all of its branches except one or two. This removes competition and makes the plant grow, quite quickly, into a tree. The survival rate of those trees is extremely high, because they already have roots and are well adapted to the hot climate.

The method has caught on. The farmers who were initially trained by our partner taught their families, friends and neighbors in turn. Now, almost the entire community knows about Kisiki Hai, and is working together to restore communal land around their village.

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