Ripening fruit on a mango tree (Mangifera indica)

Ripening fruit on a mango tree (Mangifera indica), one of the species being planted in this Guinea project. Credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

Fruit on a tamarand tree (Tamarindus indica)

Fruit on a tamarand tree (Tamarindus indica), one of the species being planted in this Guinea project. Credit: Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

Project Location:
Sangarédi, Guinea, and surrounding villages

Key Activities:

  • Planting 28,000 trees across more than 120 acres
  • Training 2,500 volunteers in environmental education and tree maintenance
  • Engaging 1,500 forest stewards in caring for the newly planted trees
  • Improving air and water quality by restoring riparian areas

Project Description:
Alcoa Foundation, American Forests and Association Guinéenne d’Eveil au Développement Durable are planting 28,000 trees with 2,500 volunteers in villages around Sangarédi, Guinea.

Why This Project:
A combination of mining, slash and burn agriculture and animal husbandry have degraded the forest ecosystems around Sangarédi. This project is restoring the area’s forests, while also improving livelihoods for the area’s inhabitants.

At least nine different tree species are being planted, but all share a commonality: They are known locally and are “useful” trees, meaning they’re edible, medicinal and timber sources or serve other practical purposes. Focused on training the inhabitants of seven local villages in agroforestry, the project is creating a green economy in the area, while also improving water and air quality.

Why Agroforestry:
In many areas of the world, forests are more than just wildlife habitat or recreation sites. Many communities and families rely on local forests for the food they eat, the wood they use to keep their houses warm and the products they sell to support themselves. Without proper education, though, these life-giving forests are often degraded faster than natural restoration can occur, leaving the surrounding areas with poorer water quality, increased air pollution and a dwindling forest.

Agroforestry is a growing practice around the world in which forests are cared for by local residents, who also sustainably harvest fruits, nuts and sometimes the trees themselves. With proper management and reforestation practices, these forests and their “farmers” flourish, reaping benefits from each other.