Sustainable forestry

Benin's sacred forests, protected out of respect for traditional religious beliefs, are maintained by local communities throughout the country. But many of these areas are now degraded due to overexploitation for the forest products that they provide, the expansion of agriculture, and urbanization.

For decades, vast areas of forests in Ethiopia have been cleared as agriculture expands. This has led to droughts, the loss of unique species and declining soil fertility.

At the same time, Ethiopia’s population has doubled in the past 30 years. This brings big challenges, such as the increasing demand for housing, employment, and food. But trees can offer a solution to these challenges.

In the green hills of Rwanda, coffee farmers are working hard to restore their land while increasing their crop yields. To help them, One Tree Planted partnered with Kula, a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating poverty by empowering women entrepreneurs. 

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita income of $280 USD and about half of the population living below the poverty line. The land in Mpwapwa, in the country’s Dodoma region, was once a forested sanctuary for wildlife and people. But in the past 50 years, unsustainable farming practices and the increasing demand for charcoal for cooking have degraded most of the region’s forests. The result is severe erosion, depleted water basins, and dry rivers.

Nearly all – 96 percent – of Malawi’s rapidly growing population depends on wood or charcoal for cooking. Meanwhile, land is continuously being cleared to grow crops, since nearly 80 percent of Malawians rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.

After decades of unsustainable agricultural practices and deforestation, the consequences of land degradation became more and more visible in Tanzania’s semi-arid Dodoma Region. Increasing temperatures during the dry seasons and erratic rainfall patterns during the rainy season cause problems for millions of people, mostly farmers and herders. In this complex system, the large-scale regeneration of trees can restore these lost ecosystem services and regulate the climate.  

Between 1990 and 2010, Kenya’s forest cover decreased from 12 percent to only 6 percent. The country has now committed to bring it back to 10 percent by 2030. In Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), deforestation is largely driven by increasing local demand for wood for construction and cooking, overgrazing, and grass fires. Deforestation and land degradation are especially serious in areas where droughts, exacerbated by climate change, are threatening already limited water supplies.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is known for its dense tropical forests, which represent 47 percent of Africa's total, as well as its diversity of plants and animals. However, a growing population -- and its dependence on farming and livestock -- are putting pressure on the country’s natural ecosystems. South Kivu province, where 80% of the people live in poverty, has one of the highest population densities in DRC. 

The farms, pasture, and rangelands of the Central African Republic (CAR) are full of potential for local people. The country also hosts a diversity of forested land, ranging from dense, humid forests in the South to savannah in the North, which provides timber, firewood, and non-timber forest products (NTFPs). 

Ethiopia’s landscapes and the people who call them home suffer from the consequences of land degradation and drought. Severe soil erosion, deforestation, frequent crop failures and uncontrolled cattle grazing are threatening the long-term food and income security of millions of people.