Proposal: Planting One Billion Trees in Africa

Jamal Al-Noor sdan at
Thu Jul 28 13:06:43 EST 1994

	This message will be broadcast once every 4 weeks for the next 
	six months. If you have seen it before and responded then we 
	thank you. If, in the meantime you thought of something else that 
	could be useful, then we would like to hear from you again. Those 
	that subscribe to these groups, we ask for your understanding as 
	we shall be posting this message repeatedly every four weeks to 
	reach the widest audience. If you can, please help distribute 
	widely. Our apologies in advance for any cross-posting.

Dear Netters,

Message for anyone and everyone who feels they can contribute something. 
(Forestry experts especially) After this introduction, below is a list of 
questions. Please answer these and add any comments, suggestions you 
may have and mail it back to us. 


Allow us to introduce ourselves. Messrs. Sustained Development - Africa 
Network (SD-AN) is a non-profit charity organisation involved in assisting 
the most disadvantaged and needy people in the Sub-Saharan regions 
of Africa. Our program of assistance is wide and varied.

This charity has been set-up jointly by Africans and others both in the UK 
and in Africa to primarily aid and help the people of Africa initially.It
came into legal formation last year though it has been active since 1991
supporting & assisting small-scale projects in the region.  

Why this message and proposal:

Its good to see the growing awareness and understanding regarding the 
environment and its importance to every human being on this planet. Though, 
there is still a lot of ignorance to the many subtle causes and effects of 
the current deforestation, desertification and other environmentally 
connected problems and the way this in turn is undermining development 
efforts, and in fact the very survival of millions of people in the Third 

Allow me to quote certain paragraphs from our Governing and Interpretation 
Document. This is of importance to our reasons for embarking on the current 
programme of action. 

	"Many people in the industrialised countries do not
	realise how important firewood is to the lives of 
	people in less-developed countries. In most poor
	countries today, 90% of the people are directly
	depended on firewood as their chief source of fuel for 
	cooking and heating.

	Diplomats, economists and the media have given little
	attention to the scarcity of firewood, and the relation it 
	has with deforestation and in turn its impact to the 
	environment, but the problem is enormous, if less 
	dramatic than the scarcities of food or water.
	A recent FAO analyses indicates that about 1.5
	billion people among those that are depended on
	firewood to meet a major part of their household
	energy requirement needs, are cutting wood faster
	than it is growing back. 

	By the year 2000, some 2.4 billion people (more than
	half the population in developing countries) will face 
	firewood shortages and will be caught in a destructive
	cycle of deforestation, fuelwood scarcities, poverty 
	and malnutrition.

	But lacking other means to meet their daily survival
	needs, rural people are forced to steadily erode the
	capacity of the natural environment to support them.
	They are destroying the basis of their future welfare
	not out of ignorance to the damage being done, but
	because their circumstances give them little
	alternative. For the majority living closest to the
	land, their survival is threatened by the loss of
	vegetation upon which they depend."

As you are aware in various parts of Africa much of the problems in many 
cases could have been averted or its impact minimised. Instead, because of 
numerous reasons, political, economic and otherwise in both Western 
and African capitals, only stop-gap measures are being funded and 
implemented after disaster has struck, but to avail, because of the 
inadequate support these programs receive. 

Only major fundamental changes to present policies coupled with adequate 
funding can problems of this nature and magnitude be tackled and again for 
many a reasons these changes are not being implemented by the powers that 


As a charity we are non-political but we cannot ignore the consequences and 
thus we intend to help initiate and assist conservation/tree planting 
projects, with a goal of planting a total of ONE BILLION TREES of various 
species in the target regions in the next 4 years. The essence of this 
project is to take pressure off existing natural tropical forests by 
providing an alternative source for the raw materials such as building 
poles, firewood, fodder, fruits, etc., essential for peoples everyday 

This project is being carried out with a view that its success:

a)      Will trigger meaningful and permanent support from governments and 
	institutions all over the world especially from the Industrialised 
	nations who hold the key to help avert the tragedy looming over the 
	horizon, if the continued destruction of the tropical forests is 
	allowed unabated in the daily survival struggle of half of humanity.

b)      Will force recognition to the increasing importance of fuelwood to 
	the lives of millions in these countries as the only source of  
	energy available for cooking and heating and that the problem will 
	continue to exacerbate as the population keeps growing. This    
	recognition it is hoped will help resources to be allocated and 
	targeted to address this very real problem.

c)      Will directly involve the communities affected in the Developing 
	countries to assist and co-operate in finding viable solutions to 
	their needs as ultimately they are the ones that can ensure success 
	or failure of any measures and as they themselves are also the  
	immediate beneficiaries or losers.

d)      Will educate, and show that sustainable, economically viable    
	alternative exists and are possible such solar and wind energy
	among many others and also show that these can be modified and
	adapted to suit local conditions everywhere.

What we seek and why:

Our request is for information, suggestions and ideas. The purpose of these 
questions is to have a rough idea and some figures to assist in making a 
determination of what could be involved and the viability to enable us 
to formulate an initial reasonable working proposal. 

At this stage, this is an idea and we need to know if this idea should be 
seriously pursued at the scale and in the time frame being suggested. Having 
no resident forestry expert to turn to we have put our request on the NET. 

The goodwill and expertise needed will then be arranged to assist in 
implementation if a decision is made to carry through, the only question 
remains of finance, but this also will be sought for and obtained if the 
economics justify it.

Questions are as follows. Answer in the space provided below after each 
question. Be as brief or as specific as you choose to be. Be free to add, 
comment and point out possible pitfalls. All responses and feedback is 
welcome and appreciated.

	---------     Cut and Mail Back Please  -------------


     -  Is the amount of trees to be planted a reasonable amount that 
	can be planted in the period of time stated considering that a 
	large number of the seedlings will be raised and planted by hand 
	by members of the various communities in the relevant areas?

     -  In certain areas, where hand planting is not possible, what other 
	practical options and methods could be used in these environments?

     -  What amount of area do these trees cover as a total? Give some  
	indications in relation to species and planting rate per        


    -   We need recommendations on which species are good choices

    -   Which multi-purpose species are recommended to provide a variety 
	of items such as wood for building materials, wood for fuel, 
	fruits, fodder, nuts, etc.?

    -   Which species would be suitable for practice of agro-forestry?

    -   Which of these are fast growing and hardy?

    -   What are the recommended planting rates?


    -   What is the most cost-effective way to achieve this goal?

    -   What is the average cost of rehabilitating an area (acre/hectare)
	of denuded land?

    -   What is the average cost of planting an acre/hectare of trees?


    -   Point us to where we can obtain information on existing efforts 
	around the world so we may learn from their experiences.

    -   If you have the costs breakdown of other forestry projects around 
	the world that could of relevance to our proposal we would      
	appreciate a copy to study.

    -   Any other information that you deem is of relevance will also
	be appreciated.


	Our thanks in advance to all who have chosen to respond
	regarding our request.

	*          Sustained Development - Africa Network           *
        *    71 Bonnersfield Lane, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 2LH (UK)   *
	*   Telephone: (+44) 071 243 8403  Fax: (+44) 081 861 2992  *
	*	 Internet E-Mail Address: <sdan at>       * 
        *        Contact: Jamal Al-noor (Project Co-ordinator)      *

More information about the Plantbio mailing list