Sunday, March 9, 2008

Planting updates from RIPPLE Africa

Eco-Libris is very proud of its great planting partners, which are planting the trees for the books

that are balanced out by our customers. We bring you from time to time updates on the planting operations and other interesting news from them, and today I am very excited to bring you the latest news from
RIPPLE Africa.

RIPPLE Africa, a UK registered non-profit organization that was established in 2003 by Liz and Geoff Furber, is working in Malawi, Africa. Malawi is heavily suffering from deforestation and RIPPLE Africa is working with local communities to plant trees, which will benefit both the environment and the locals. Besides the planting operations, RIPPLE Afric is also invoved in Malawi in health and education programs.

The trees planting season in Malawi is during December/January, after the trees seedlings are been raised in nurseries for a couple of months. RIPPLE Africa reports on its last newsletter on the very successful planting of December 07/Janurary 08 (which also included 2,000 trees of Eco-Libris customers) as follows:

Tree Planting Programme 2007-2008 - Our tree planting programme has developed very quickly over the past two years and, with the small resources that we have had, the RIPPLE Africa staff and the communities have achieved amazing results.

We have had a very successful tree planting programme during the last 12 months, and 1,250,000 tree seedlings have been raised in 137 tree nurseries — we estimate that we now have about 3,000 people working on this project.

Last year, many of the trees were planted in a variety of areas, and it was difficult to monitor and manage these trees. This year, through the guidance of our new supervisors, we have encouraged communities to plant the majority of trees in a few selected areas. This will mean that monitoring and caring for the trees will be easier. It is important to make sure that communities look after these trees for at least the first two years by clearing the grass from around each tree, preventing bush burning, and preventing goats from roaming freely in these areas.

Also, by protecting these areas, trees that have previously been cut down will be given the chance to grow again. This secondary growth will provide diversity and, because the trees will have established roots, they will grow more quickly and more successfully than the newly planted trees.

e will be changing the emphasis of the project during 2008 to provide much more awareness training and monitoring. We have certainly experienced failures where trees have been planted and then, in the dry season, bush fires have killed a number of them. Our goal for this year is to maintain the existing 137 nurseries and only to establish an additional 23 nurseries.

We now have four supervisors, two assistant supervisors, and two awareness training officers employed on the tree planting programme. All of these staff live locally and are working hard to achieve the goals set by RIPPLE Africa.

RIPPLE Africa has another planting program of fruit trees, which was started recently. Here's the report on this program:

Alupro Fruit Tree Growing Project — An Exciting Start!In June 2007, Alupro sponsored our fruit tree project. Our aim was to establish a fruit tree nursery at Mwaya with a greenhouse for grafting and budding, and to grow fruit trees in some of the community tree nurseries.

The communities and the RIPPLE Africa staff have been so excited and enthusiastic about this programme that we have extended the fruit tree project to all of our nurseries. They have been growing lemon trees as hardy root stock for oranges and tangerines, mangos for grafting, guavas and pawpaws, and some avocados. These improved fruit trees will provide valuable income generation from the sale of the tree seedlings and eventually the sale of fruit. Also, local communities will benefit from eating the fruit.

We held a very exciting meeting with the senior chiefs and gave them navel oranges, purchased from a supermarket in Lilongwe and imported from South Africa. They had never seen oranges like these before, and our aim is for communities to be able to grow large, juicy oranges in the future. We have already organised the purchase of budwood from improved orange and tangerine trees to be budded on to the hardy lemon stock.

In November 2007, Cherry Hamson, the Communications Director for Alupro, visited Mwaya to see how the project was developing. Cherry is very passionate about this project being an enormous success. She is promoting the project with local authorities and schools in the UK, and many of them have featured the project in their magazines and websites.

These are great news from RIPPLE Africa! If you want to read more news on their other interesting and important projects, please check out the February news page - You can also find a lot of interesting information on RIPPLE Africa, their work in Malawi, the people they work with and on Malawi itself on their website -

And if you want to see some of the green action, here are some great photos from the newsletter:

David Banda, a forest guard, with one of the community tree nursery members

One of the 137 RIPPLE Africa tree nurseries

The Senior Chiefs learning about deforestation and how it is affecting the communities at Chikwawa

One of the heavily deforested and eroded hills at Chikwawa

Recently planted trees at Kachere Primary School — growing quickly!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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