An all-too-often ignored cause of poverty is deforestation, which is having a negative impact on Madagascar as close to 90% of its forests have been cut down. With the loss of inland forests, the rain patterns change, water tables drop, fertile topsoil erodes, crops suffer and livelihoods are drastically altered. Likewise, as the coastal mangrove forests disappear, villages are no longer protected from devastating cyclones. Breeding grounds for ocean fish diminish, lumber for building houses and canoes decrease, and wood for cooking is more expensive. Jamie & Alissa’s organization, Red Island Restoration, is partnering with Eden Reforestation Projects to address the root issue; planting trees and recreating forests.
Jamie has been the Director for ERP in Madagascar since it’s inception in 2007. In 2012, a crew of 175 women and men successfully planted over 18 million mangrove trees along the northwest coast, bringing the total count up to over 80 million trees in the last nine years.
In September 2012, they initiated their first dry-deciduous reforestation project and the Hands in the Dirt nursery training center. So how does this all happen? Well for starters, a 16-meter deep well (that’s 52 feet!!) was dug by hand, a crew comprised of 23 women and 7 men from our immediate community were hired and worked hard to transform a barren piece of land into a functioning nursery. They collected thousands of seeds representing more than 30 different endemic trees. In January 2013, the first 40,000 endemic hardwood and fruit bearing trees were planted and hundreds of women and men were employed. Jamie now manages 5 nurseries with the help of local Malagasy supervisors.
View Eden Reforestation Projects’ video.
Read more about Jamie’s involvement with Eden Reforestation Projects here
Our Involvement with ERP:
Mark will assist Jamie with the growing project management needs of the Madagascar operation and will help in areas such as grant applications and financial reporting.