The good news is that now, a whole
12 months later, we have finally secured sites on which to begin the project.
The hurdles we have had to overcome from regional instability to bandwidth issues and lack of infrastructure have been a steep learning curve and have made us realize even more the complexity of regenerating degraded land, and that in order to do this properly, so that all stakeholders are in the loop, we must create a mechanism that is beyond reproach.
The more time I spend in this space the more I realize that it has become just another industry and that the people at the coalface are generally not seeing the benefits. This is obviously not exclusively the case and there are some amazing projects that are striving to get it right,
but for every one of them there are others who still perpetuate the myth of "give us a buck and we will plant a tree for you", as often as not the wrong tree in the wrong place with an abysmal survival rate. But again this has only reinforced in me the need to build a universally accessible system that makes sure the right trees get planted in the right place for the right people.
So our first plot is in northern Cameroon and is designated part of the great green wall, where we will in conjunction with the land owner be doing a mix of natural regeneration and agroforestry.
The land is currently a mix of native shrub and subsistence farming, and for the most part heavily degraded and vulnerable to drought.
The second plot is on Mindanao in the Philippines and is part of a larger project to protect and preserve a sacred forest which is home to the tribes of the Higa-Onon people. The forest is currently under threat from a multitude of fronts from logging, hunting and the ever encroaching palm oil interests.
Our approach is to work with the communities on the fringes of the forest to help restore the degraded land back to productivity therefore taking the pressure off the forest, using a blend of native species and agroforestry, which has a high biodiversity and social impact. By being able to create jobs and food security through regeneration we hope to be able to empower a generation of young people to see the real value in their forest and not be tempted by the easy money.
As you can imagine there is a lot of work going on in the background. All this to the backdrop of a global pandemic has made the last year a challenging one, but there is an amazing community of people in this space who are sharing and supporting the ever growing movement.
So I for one am looking forward to 2022 with optimism and the belief that we are the
re-gen generation and we will get it done.