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Enhancing Tree Conservation and Forest Restoration in Africa

On February 25th 2013, a seminar was held in London, UK, organised by BGCI as part of the project Enhancing Tree Conservation and Forest Restoration in Africa. The seminar brought together representatives from organisations involved in tree planting and forest restoration in Africa and discussed the potential for using a wider mix of indigenous trees, including endangered species, in tree planting initiatives.

A great need for effective forest restoration in Africa was identified and the added benefits of using indigenous species were discussed. Of particular note was the potential for planting efforts to restore water supply, a vital need in many areas. At present the majority of tree planting in Africa focuses on non native species and the benefits of using indigenous species are often missed.

A number of constraints were identified that currently limit the wider use of indigenous species, including:

 

 

 

  • A lack of available information on indigenous species, such as propagation techniques and growth rates
  • Limited availability of good quality seeds and seedlings of indigenous species
  • A lack of documentation and promotion of the added value of undertaking restoration using indigenous species
  • A lack of financial support for restoration
 

 

The BGCI project Enhancing Tree Conservation and Forest Restoration in Africa will work with botanic gardens in Africa and other partners to address these constraints.

The three year project will collect information on native species propagated by botanic gardens and disseminate this information to a wide audience to promote botanic gardens as sources of genetic material for restoration projects. The practical restoration work of two botanic gardens in East Africa will be supported and monitored and the added benefits achieved from using indigenous species will be promoted. Click here for further information about the project activities.

The seminar called for increased partnership between organisations with a common aim to encourage the use of indigenous species in tree planting initiatives across Africa. BGCI are discussing potential partnerships with some of the organisations represented at the seminar. A workshop will be held in Uganda in July 2013 to develop further partnerships.

This project contributes to the aims of the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens, which encourages partnerships between large and small botanic gardens to undertake ecological restoration. We are therefore encouraging and looking to develop new partnerships between small African gardens and larger gardens elsewhere with an interest in supporting forest restoration in Africa.

By combining resources and knowledge, partnerships will be more successful at obtaining funding for restoration projects and be better equipped to influence governments and engage with private companies, to encourage tree planting efforts to focus on indigenous species.

 

In July 2013 BGCI held a regional workshop in Uganda to develop partnerships and plan for further forest restoration in East Africa. To read more about this workshop and download the workshop report, click here.

 

To find out more about this project and how you can be involved please contact kirsty.shaw@bgci.org

 

We are very grateful to the Ashden Trust for supporting this project.

 

Photo credit: Barney Wilczak