To mark and celebrate the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) being 10 years old and having given €2 million to conservation, the Association launched the 2 Million Tree Project as part of ambitious plans to raise enough money to plant / regnerate 2 million trees over the next 2 years. Following a ruthless selection process and 107 applications for funding last summer, the EOCA is delighted to be able to outline the first 5 projects it will be funding, as well as a project funded by one of EOCA’s members – which together will plant just over 1,000,000 trees. In addition, EOCA is launching a public fundraiser, to support an additional project based in Nepal, aiming to add a further 80,00 trees to the total!
Trees provide huge benefits stabilising slopes, protecting coastlines and providing oxygen, for example. EOCA has already committed to funding 5 new projects which together will plant over 1 million trees. In addition, EOCA members The North Face, LOWA, Nikwax and Marmot have been supporting their own tree planting projects with staff involvement. Further projects for 2017 funding are currently being assessed by EOCA and its panel of scientific advisors.
The first 5 projects are as follows:
Mangroves for the Future, Madagascar
Blue Ventures (BV) is a marine conservation organisation that aims to rebuild tropical fisheries with the poorest coastal communities. During this project, BV will work with 5 Community Mangrove Management Associations, to enable them to plant 10 hectares each of mangroves that have been deforested for charcoal production. In total 500,000 trees will be planted, providing protection for the local communities from cyclones, tsunami and high tides as well as improvements in biodiversity in the sea. School equipment will be provided to communities as an incentive for planting rather than payment to individuals. BV has developed a Kayak/ecotourism centre around the coast, providing alternative livelihoods to locals and will run training programmes on the importance and value of healthy mangroves.
Restoring India’s Cloud Forest
WeForest develops and implements large-scale landscape reforestation projects mitigating climate change, preserving biodiversity and alleviating poverty. The East-Khasi Hills in Meghalaya Hills, NE India, a key attraction for hikers, is home to the tribal Khasi people, who depend on forest for their livelihood. EOCA money will enable the restoration of 102 hectares with around 85,000 trees from regeneration and planting native species. 1,240 people will be directly involved and gain income from the project – through tree planting, nursery maintenance, self help group activities, guiding and a number of other activities such as alternative cooking technologies.
Choma Hill Forest Conservation, Malawi
RIPPLE Africa runs grassroots projects in Malawi, to empower communities to achieve a sustainable future by providing a ‘hand up’ and not a ‘hand out’. Deforestation is a major problem in the country, mostly due to clearing land for subsistence farming and reliance on wood for cooking. Choma Hill is a large wooded area on the outskirts of Mzuzu and is the only area near the city where firewood can be found and a thriving illegal charcoal industry is threatening the forest. RIPPLE Africa has an education programme and a fuel efficient cookstove project in the area, reinforcing messages about the importance of the forest at a household level, supporting forest conservation committees and encouraging regeneration and new tree planting. The project will plant 250,000 trees, conserve the remaining trees from further deforestation and protect this potential ecotourism destination from charcoal production.
Turning Tree Seedlings into Medicine, Borneo
Yayasan Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI)’s mission is to improve both environmental and human health around Gunung Palung National Park, home to 5-10% of the world’s orangutans. Since 2007, ASRI has operated a health clinic offering discounted health care to communities in exchange for reductions in illegal logging, and targeted conservation initiatives. Clinic patients can pay for medical bills with tree seedlings which are then used to restore degraded areas of the park. This project will establish an arboretum and educational trail around the healthcare centre, providing educational trips for school children and health benefits for recovering patients. 15 hectare area of forest will be rehabilitated through natural regeneration (22,500 trees) and planting (25,000 trees). Volunteers will also be trained in fire fighting and organize fire patrols to protect the newly reforested area.