Our natural world is critical for human survival. Yet nearly 75% of the earth’s surface has been altered and impacted by human activity, threatening the very ecosystems and species we rely on. Widespread deforestation not only hurts plant and animal life but also jeopardises the ability of local communities to live sustainably off of dwindling natural resources. Eden Reforestation Projects is on a mission to combat deforestation by employing local communities to plant trees, providing an empowering means to alleviate extreme poverty through environmental stewardship.
Deforestation is a fundamental risk for nearly 1.6 billion people worldwide who depend on forests for their livelihood, including 70 million indigenous people. Land clearing for agricultural use, mining, commercial activity, logging, wildfires, and fuelwood harvesting all contribute to the deforestation of these vital habitats. The unsustainable use of forest land is a vicious cycle that can lead to further soil erosion, desertification, increased flooding and ultimately reduced agricultural productivity, putting further pressure on limited resources.
Eden Reforestation Projects fight deforestation and alleviate poverty by employing local communities to restore their natural ecosystems. Eden only plants native tree species to maintain natural biodiversity, and so far, have planted more than 500 million trees around the world. In addition to manually planting millions of trees, Eden Projects have discovered that once natural regeneration kicks in, their tree planting efforts are organically multiplied. For instance, in their Mangrove sites, natural regeneration typically exceeds 150% of the original number planted.This reforestation practice has a number of benefits including restoring animal habit, improving soil quality, and restoring weather patterns.
Eden has created means of livelihood for millions of people living in extreme poverty around the world. Each project employs local communities to work within their nurseries and project sites in Madagascar, Haiti, Nepal, Indonesia, Mozambique, Kenya, Nicaragua and Honduras, engaging local communities to protect and care for newly planted regions. Additionally, each project site also plants a percentage of selected species that are dedicated to sustainable community use.
Today, we plant the majority of trees at Eden's project site in Honduras. However, the first Eden Project was brought to life in Ethiopia in 2005. At the time, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Hailemariuam Deslegn, invited Dr. Stephen Fitch to take over a reforestation project near Hawassa, Ethiopia. Local communities were employed and in less than 10 years, over 15mn trees were planted and protected by over 3,500 local community members. The success was evident, and Eden has grown in scale and impact, setting up projects worldwide. Each grow site is carefully selected for maximum environmental and social impact, following its core mission of using reforestation as a means to alleviate extreme poverty and protect our planet.
Eden Reforestation Projects is registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organisation headquartered in California, USA. They are endorsed on the United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Platform and are recognised as a leading actor in international reforestation efforts and ‘Employ to Plant’ methodology. You can learn more about their impact here.