International Tree Foundation (ITF) has worked for more than 80 years, supporting community forestry projects in the UK and worldwide, and has been responsible for the establishment of an estimated 27 billion trees.
ITF are working with Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative in south-eastern Tanzania. Tanzania’s forests are being lost at a rate of 130,000ha per year, the fifth fastest rate of any country globally. With Tanzania’s population growing and pressures on Miombo woodland intensifying, this is set to only increase. However, for indigenous and rural communities, the forest provides sustainable sources of livelihoods and income. When properly restored these forests are an economic safety net, particularly in times of hardship such as drought.
ITF’s approach is to work through local community-based organisations to implement forestry and agro-forestry initiatives. They aim to provide seed funding to newly emerging groups who are passionate and informed about protecting the natural environment, and then continue to support opportunities for capable groups to scale up their activities and impacts. The project being run by Mpingo in Tanzania aims to restore an area of Miombo woodland by mobilising the local community to plant native trees in forest gaps and degraded areas. This region supports many of Africa’s large and charismatic fauna and is also an important habitat for bird species and reptiles, with 30 species of snakes and lizards found predominately in these woodlands. The project also supports sustainable use of the forest, thus helping to alleviate poverty, while cultivating community resilience against climate change and natural disasters.