South Africa hosts many tree planting initiatives throughout the country annually, so it is interesting to see what is being done in other parts of Africa and the rest of the world, with regard to re-forestation and conservation programs.
Botanic Gardens Conservation International otherwise known as BGCI, is a UK based organisation that has become known as the largest plant conservation body in the world.
Their aim is to save the most threatened plant species in the world (some 8,753 tree species in 1998 and this will certainly have increased by now), through initiating conservation action and support for sustainable use, as well as educating local communities on the need for conservation and methods of propagation and replanting.
Aside from their numerous valuable projects throughout the world, BGCI has launched an important 3 year forest restoration and threatened tree species conservation initiative in Africa.
The aim is to promote the use of indigenous species while increasing the role of African botanic gardens in forest restoration.
Forest restoration using indigenous and threatened species will enhance biodiversity and will also benefit local communities by supplying food and medicine.
Most of the tree planting initiatives in Africa, focus on exotic species that deplete nutrients in the ground as well as compromising water supply. Through education and restoration of indigenous species, these issues can be resolved.
To provide a sound basis for extending re-forestation projects throughout Africa, Brackenhurst Botanic Garden in Kenya and Tooro Botanical Gardens in Uganda, both of which already have considerable experience in re-forestation projects, will be supported through training and education programs and the development of guidelines, which can be replicated in other African countries.
By forming partnerships with the private sector, NGO’s and governments, BGCI are making an invaluable contribution towards the prevention of extinctions and the re-forestation of the planet.
Photo credits: Barney Wilczak