Looking after the environment

Looking after the environment

In the areas in which we work, like the drylands of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Niger and isolated areas of Ethiopia, people rely directly on their environment. They need the soil for crops, trees for firewood and building materials, rivers and wells for water.

But when you are living in poverty, your choices are limited. You may not be able to look after the soil, or you may have to cut down trees too rapidly. Farmland turns to desert, forests disappear, and people end up damaging the environment they know they depend on.

Now climate change is putting more pressure on the environment than ever before – and making survival still harder for the smallholder farmers that TREE AID supports.

What TREE AID does

What TREE AID does

What TREE AID does

We support people to grow trees to improve the environment. Trees improve soil quality for better harvests, reduce soil loss through wind or flooding, protect ecosystems and increase biodiversity. This keeps the environment fertile generation after generation.

We also help people in poor communities manage their natural resources such as trees, land and water so that they can support their families and look after the environment.

One way we do this is though simple, natural resource management techniques like these:

  • Grafting an older shoot to a young sapling means the tree reaches maturity sooner and gives more fruit
  • Zai pits are dug during the dry season and filled with compost. When the rains come, the compost is activated, so seedlings can get off to a great start
  • Rock lines are like hedges for the desert. They trap straw, seeds and manure blown across the land, so that the soil becomes enriched and seeds take hold
  • Assisted natural regeneration is a cost efficient way of regreening degraded land. Seedlings which naturally occur in the landscape are protected from grazing animals and compost may also be added to the base of the seedling.

Living proof: a future for Aïcha’s village

Living proof: a future for Aïcha’s village

Living proof: a future for Aïcha’s village

Aïcha lives in Nagraogo in Burkina Faso. The future was looking precarious for Aïcha’s family.

Aicha“Our forest disappeared,” she remembers. “Every day we had too much wind, no wood for cooking, no shade, no poles for building, no trees for medicine.”

Aïcha was invited to take part in a community project run by TREE AID. She learnt how to grow trees from seedlings, composting and other skills to help trees survive in this tough climate. Now Aïcha can grow enough to feed her family and even sell a little extra for essentials like medicines and clothes.