Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania is proud to partner with stakeholders across Tanzania and around the world as part of a massive forest conservation and reforestation program. With the help of the Tanzanian government, funders from around the globe and local communities, we will help conserve millions of hectares of existing forest, while reforesting even more of the country with more than 100 million trees. It’s one of the largest carbon capture opportunities on the planet today. We are working with Sacred Seedlings on one of the largest carbon capture opportunities in the world. We need your help to make it a reality.
The world is at a turning point. Ecosystems in some regions are on the verge of collapse. Balancing record human populations with diminishing and degraded natural resources is getting more challenging every day. Meanwhile, climate change is making that balancing act more complex, as agriculture, water, wildlife and communities are feeling the impact in most regions of the world.
Because of these factors, biodiversity is under assault like never before and the web of life could collapse in some regions of the world within a few years. Each regional collapse will contribute to the global spiral. Eastern Africa is one region that’s at a critical point now.
Thanks to collaborative and comprehensive planning by Mellowswan and other enthusiastic leaders across Tanzania, we have a plan for a massive conservation program that can help us fight climate change, poverty and wildlife poaching simultaneously. This is already one of the largest carbon capture opportunities available on the planet today.
Africa’s tropical belt is one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world. Millions of people across the continent have already been displaced due to drought, famine and conflict. Desertification has already taken its toll in northern regions and it’s creeping southward because of resource-hungry humans and climate change. The humanitarian crisis is adding to the environmental crisis. Without aggressive intervention, it will escalate and the ecosystem will collapse. It will take endangered species and cultures with it.
In Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa, investments from India and China have created an economic boom. This escalating economic disparity—including the entitlement of foreign investors, myths, cultural factors, and corruption—is driving a devastating trade in illegal wildlife parts, including elephant ivory, rhino horn and others. The demand for endangered species’ parts is rapidly driving them toward extinction. Both the African elephant and the rhino could be poached into extinction within a decade, if drought and starvation don’t wipe them out first. Lions will go right behind them. The collapse will continue until the land won’t support man or beast. Containing this ecological and humanitarian disaster to Africa will be impossible. The entire world has a stake in saving this delicate ecosystem and others from collapse.
The entire planet must address the issues of overpopulation, deforestation, biodiversity, poverty, endangered species, sustainable agriculture and economic development. These complex issues are becoming more entwined every day.
Record Human Population: No one knows what the maximum occupancy is for our planet. Unfortunately, there is only one way to find out.
Deforestation: Deforestation is a widespread problem around the world and across Eastern Africa. Rising demand for charcoal results in a loss of some 575,000 hectares annually for fuel wood just in Tanzania. Fires, illegal harvesting and clearing for short-term millet production still contribute to deforestation.
Food and Water: The major effects of deforestation in Tanzania, for example, have been deterioration of ecological systems with negative impacts on soil fertility, water flows and biological diversity. Soil erosion has become a serious problem in many parts of the country, particularly in the central region. Sheet and gully erosion are widespread, rendering most of the land unproductive. Deforestation has also affected watersheds. There is extensive evidence of reduced dry season river flows and drying up of springs and groundwater. There also is increased sedimentation of rivers and dams and a greater frequency of dangerous and damaging flash floods.
The effects of deforestation are causing changes in weather patterns with few heavy rains across the region. Waters from the highlands of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya are decreasing and millions of people below are dependent on that water for survival. It is predicted that ice on Mount Kenya will disappear in 30 years or less. Groundwater supplies have also been depleted because of reduced infiltration of rainfall into the soil caused by deforestation. The poor water quality and quantity has been associated with incidences of many waterborne diseases such as typhoid, diarrhea and cholera. The diminishing water table also is taking its toll on plants and trees.
Economic Disparity and Development: The depletion of forest resources is affecting the health of agriculture industries, not to mention the health of the people. Further decline could cost Kenya alone more than US$300 million per year, in terms of tourism, energy and agriculture. All efforts must be made now to reverse the economic threat.
Biodiversity and Extinction: Tanzania may have lost half its elephant population since 2007. It could be wiped out entirely in just seven years. Kenya’s wildlife also is under assault like never before. Adding to the crisis, there has been loss of wildlife habitat and biodiversity as a result of fragmentation and loss of critical ecosystem linkages and over-exploitation of the natural habitats. This loss of habitat brings humans and wildlife into more and more conflict over food, water and space–which means more bloodshed. Tanzania’s elephant population declined from an estimated 109,000 elephants in 2009 to around 70,000 in 2012. Around 30 elephants are killed for their ivory every day, almost 11,000 each year and rising. It’s estimated that more than 35,000 African elephants were killed for ivory in 2012. The number likely rose again in 2013 and will rise again in 2014.
The Selous Game Reserve, for example, has lost more than 80 percent of its elephants to poaching in the last six years. In 2007, it had an estimated 50,000 elephants. A recent census found just 13,084 elephants. “Tanzania has lost the majority of elephants in some of their most iconic national parks,” said Dr. Max Graham, a wildlife conservationist. “If they want a viable tourism product, they have to act very quickly—within the next 12-18 months. Otherwise, the elephants will be gone forever.” In addition, poachers killed at least 1,004 rhinos in Africa last year–a record toll that just keeps rising. At this pace, the rhino population will be pushed into extinction within a generation at most. Interventions across Africa are necessary and our partners in Africa can help.
Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Deforestation is responsible for approximately 20 percent of the contributions to global greenhouse gasses. That number does not account for the capacity of these forests to absorb ongoing carbon buildup in the atmosphere. This reforestation project can address climate change and resiliency for people and wildlife. Forests in Eastern Africa are rapidly declining due to pressure from rising populations and agricultural land uses. For example, about 50 million people live in Tanzania today. Even urban residents still use fuel wood and charcoal. Thus, Tanzania is still burning its forests at an alarming rate. To help reverse the negative deforestation trend in Tanzania and elsewhere across East Africa, we’re collaborating with regional NGOs, government leaders, community leaders and others to implement several comprehensive and integrated efforts to assure sustainability in the region. We’re working with locals across East Africa to promote economic development and sustainability simultaneously.
Mt. Kilimanjaro Project
An integrated reforestation, conservation and community education program. The Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania will start three large greenhouses (higher elevation) and nurseries that will fuel an effort to plant 10 million trees in the region. Land has already been donated to the project in Rombo district by the Rongai forest plantation authority. Rombo District Council has offered another nursery site. Both nursery sites are on the borders of Kilimanjaro National Park. Mountain climbers who take the Kinapa route will walk by one of the nurseries.
The Moshi Municipal Council offered a third nursery plot for urban reforestation. Unlike past reforestation efforts in the region, we will focus on local needs and long-term sustainability of the new trees. Despite clear evidence that most villagers know what species they want, most foresters in the past ignored those preferences. For example, the Masai are a unique pastoral group. They keep large numbers of livestock in a harsh environment to meet family subsistence needs. As they have explained, they need tree species that are suitable for their herds. When they are given eucalyptus trees, they aren’t even planted. (Full project detail available upon request.)
Tanzania National Economic Development Project
An integrated reforestation, conservation and community education campaign across the entire nation of Tanzania. Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania plans to expand its first project across all of Tanzania. This economic development program has been approved by The United Republic of Tanzania.
- The plan includes an area of 426,889,704 hectares for reforestation across all six regions and 55 districts. We will plant at least 100 million trees and more if the possible.
- The government will commit another 81,986,475 hectares for conservation of existing forests.
We will work with government leaders and Village Natural Resources Committees (VNRC) about their responsibilities in all districts and regions. We will train them on the latest provisions and policies of the Forest Act, Environmental Act, Land Act, Wildlife Act and Water Act. We also will collect and distribute best practices from the VNRCs and other local and district leaders to share the knowledge for maximum impact.
The project also will include aquaculture, beekeeping, agro-forestry, ecotourism, conferences, training, awards and community education. It also will promote strategies to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, including safekeeping livestock from predators and safeguarding crops from elephants. We also will develop several community centers that can be used for trainings, community events and tourism support.
In almost each district, we will plant timber trees, indigenous trees, trees to attract rainfall, trees that conserve groundwater tables, fruits, and commercial fruits such as clove, cocoa, palm, baobab, mango, guavas, avocados, etc. to benefit habitat, biodiversity and communities. We also will have an urban forestry program. In urban environments, street kids can harvest fruit for income and survival.
Tanzania is rich in National Parks and Game Reserves. There is still a conflict between cattle keepers and game reserves. The domestic animals, such as cattle and goats are penetrating to national parks searching for food.
We must dig water troughs for domestic animals to help protect wild animals from disease. In many areas, there are no rivers. We will need to drill wells for watering the nursery trees, but the right species can survive in these harsh environments once reestablished.
We will construct a training center where we will have conference halls and a hostel for visitors. This will help the sustainability of Mellowswan Foundation Africa and its ability to care for the deformed orphans. We also can rent out the conference hall to community members.
Plus, we are exploring the possibility of introducing biogas plants for those who keep animals and introducing “bio-latrines” for villagers.
We will build greenhouses to accelerate the growth cycle of our seedlings and to maximize our replanting capacity. We will staff them throughout the year to maximize production.
We will publicize the reforestation and conservation program locally at airports, hotels, national parks and game reserves so that visitors can visit and/or support the reforestation project. We will urge volunteers from around the world to come work side-by-side with us for eco-holidays and internships. We plan to work more cooperatively to promote wildlife tourism aggressively across the region and around the world.
The District Directors and Forest officers in Tanzania are very happy with this overall project and have offered to help in multiple ways. Such an economic stimulus can help take some of the pressures off of wildlife, especially endangered species such as the African elephant, rhinoceros, lions and others. Presently, wildlife traffickers can hire locals to poach elephants for just a few dollars. The tusks and horns are then smuggled to China, Vietnam, Thailand and other nations where they are worth billions on the black market.
It will take several strategies to stop wildlife poaching, but sustainable economic development in Africa can help address the problem, while providing a platform for more productive community engagement.
Our goal is to provide education and help indigenous people understand the importance of forests and all wildlife. The objective is to provide information about the ecosystem and how environmental factors are influenced by negative human activities, including deforestation and wildlife poaching. (Full detail available upon request.)
For more information, please visit http://sacredseedlings.com/tanzania-reforestation/