The ongoing projects in Senegal are very unique. The model is to create 'forest gardens' on what was previously farmed land. On these plots (usually about 1 hectare) the farmers plant large living fences made of trees around the perimeter. They then fill the interior with a variety of vegetable and fruit trees such as papaya, cashew, jujube, mango, egg plant, okra, manioc, tomato, hot pepper, and more. Forest gardens vary quite a bit from location to location. The purpose of the forest garden is to offer the farmer an escape from subsistence farming while ensuring they have year round income from fruits and vegetables that ripen in different seasons.
Waiting to be planted
The country of Senegal in West Africa faces an encroaching desert as the Sahara slowly makes its way southward. The poor rural farming communities around the town of Kaffrine are experiencing increasing land degradation and desertification as a result. This desertification, caused by a combination of man-made and natural factors, is exacerbated by unsustainable land use practices. The remaining trees that dot the horizon are all that remain of a once thriving Sahelian forest ecosystem. The last of the adult indigenous fruit trees are slowly dying, and it has become rare to find a young baobab, tamarind or bush mango sapling. In this degraded region, the vast majority of the population is involved in agriculture as the primary, and often only, source of income. The average income of rural households in rural Senegal ranges from a low of $10/month to a high of $50/month.
As local forest resources are depleted for wood fuel and fencing materials, overgrazing by animals begins to aggravate the problems by prohibiting the natural regeneration of all but the hardiest of Sahelian trees and shrubs. As well, wind erosion punishes the exposed soil in the dry season, and the annual burning of field crop residue in preparation for seeding field crops inhibits the return of nutrients to the sandy, mineral - drained topsoil. In the Wolof language, villagers often use the term “dead soils” to describe the regressive state of soil degradation. Crop production is often not sufficient to meet the food needs of a family throughout the year, and as a result, the poverty level in Kaffrine region is assessed at 64.8%. In partnership with Trees for the Future (TREES), tentree is supporting tree planting efforts throughout a network of over fifty villages in the Kaffrine area, developing profitable agro - forestry endeavors that generate a livelihood for local communities while improving the local and global environment. After the trees are planted, they are cared for and protected by locals.
Trees For The Future has worked with communities around the world integrating tree-planting into their agricultural production, uplifting farmers and their families beyond the poverty line. Through tree-planting, communities are restored to self-sufficiency bringing the land back to health.