EOCA 2 Million Tree Campaign: The First Million

Release date: 31 January 2017

To mark and celebrate the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) being 10 years old and having given €2 million to conservation, the Association launched the 2 Million Tree Project as part of ambitious plans to raise enough money to plant / regnerate 2 million trees over the next 2 years.  Following a ruthless selection process and 107 applications for funding last summer, the EOCA is delighted to be able to outline the first 5 projects it will be funding, as well as a project funded by one of EOCA’s members  - which together will plant just over 1,000,000 trees.   In addition, EOCA is launching a public fundraiser, to support an additional project based in Nepal, aiming to add a further 80,00 trees to the total!
 
Nurturing Saplings.  Photo WeForest
Nurturing Saplings. Photo WeForest

Trees provide huge benefits stabilising slopes, protecting coastlines and providing oxygen, for example.  EOCA has already committed to funding 5 new projects which together will plant over 1 million trees.  In addition, EOCA members The North Face, LOWA, Nikwax and Marmot have been supporting their own tree planting projects with staff involvement.  Further projects for 2017 funding are currently being assessed by EOCA and its panel of scientific advisors.  

The first 5 projects are as follows:
Mangroves for the Future, Madagascar                            
Blue Ventures (BV) is a marine conservation organisation that aims to rebuild tropical fisheries with the poorest coastal communities.  During this project, BV will work with 5 Community Mangrove Management Associations, to enable them to plant 10 hectares each of mangroves that have been deforested for charcoal production.  In total 500,000 trees will be planted, providing protection for the local communities from cyclones, tsunami and high tides as well as improvements in biodiversity in the sea.  School equipment will be provided to communities as an incentive for planting rather than payment to individuals.  BV has developed a Kayak/ecotourism centre around the coast, providing alternative livelihoods to locals and will run training programmes on the importance and value of healthy mangroves.

Restoring India’s Cloud Forest
WeForest develops and implements large-scale landscape reforestation projects mitigating climate change, preserving biodiversity and alleviating poverty. The East-Khasi Hills in Meghalaya Hills, NE India, a key attraction for hikers, is home to the tribal Khasi people, who depend on forest for their livelihood. EOCA money will enable the restoration of 102 hectares with around 85,000 trees from regeneration and planting native species.  1,240 people will be directly involved and gain income from the project - through tree planting, nursery maintenance, self help group activities, guiding and a number of other activities such as alternative cooking technologies.

Choma Hill Forest Conservation, Malawi 
RIPPLE Africa runs grassroots projects in Malawi, to empower communities to achieve a sustainable future by providing a ‘hand up’ and not a ‘hand out’. Deforestation is a major problem in the country, mostly due to clearing land for subsistence farming and reliance on wood for cooking. Choma Hill is a large wooded area on the outskirts of Mzuzu and is the only area near the city where firewood can be found and a thriving illegal charcoal industry is threatening the forest.  RIPPLE Africa has an education programme and a fuel efficient cookstove project in the area, reinforcing messages about the importance of the forest at a household level, supporting forest conservation committees and encouraging regeneration and new tree planting.   The project will plant 250,000 trees, conserve the remaining trees from further deforestation and protect this potential ecotourism destination from charcoal production.

Turning Tree Seedlings into Medicine, Borneo
Yayasan Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI)’s mission is to improve both environmental and human health around Gunung Palung National Park, home to 5-10% of the world’s orangutans. Since 2007, ASRI has operated a health clinic offering discounted health care to communities in exchange for reductions in illegal logging, and targeted conservation initiatives.  Clinic patients can pay for medical bills with tree seedlings which are then used to restore degraded areas of the park. This project will establish an arboretum and educational trail around the healthcare centre, providing educational trips for school children and health benefits for recovering patients.  15 hectare area of forest will be rehabilitated through natural regeneration  (22,500 trees) and planting (25,000 trees). Volunteers will also be trained in fire fighting and organize fire patrols to protect the newly reforested area.

 
Nepal:  2 Million Tree Fundraiser Project
Nepal: 2 Million Tree Fundraiser Project

Restoring indigenous forest on Mount Kenya’s Slopes                 Nominated by: Vaude
Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) works to protect and conserve the forest, water and wildlife around Africa’s second highest mountain – Mount Kenya – which is popular with mountaineers, climbers, cavers, kayakers and bikers.  The area is a vitally important water source, but threatened by illegal logging, livestock grazing, charcoal production, poaching and fires. The project will restore a 250 hectares area of bare, open grassland that has been illegally cultivated for many years and is a severe fire hazard. 120 hectares will be planted with 120,000 trees and the area enclosed within the Mount Kenya Rhino Ark perimeter fence to ensure its permanent protection. Landless farmers in the forest-adjacent communities will be given the right to cultivate agricultural crops amongst the trees during early stages of forest plantation establishment in return for them protecting them from grazing and elephants.

EOCA is delighted to announce that one of its members, Original Buff, S.A. has become a Summit Member by choosing to fund the following project:

Heart of Scotland Forest Project                    
John Muir Trust is a UK charity dedicated to protecting wild places.  Schiehallionn - the Fairy Hill, is one of Scotland’s most iconic hills and climbed by thousands of walkers, bikers and runners every year. The Trust’s vision is to increase native woodland cover and connectivity between neighbouring areas of woodland, whilst connecting people with nature through its ‘Heart of Scotland’ project. The plan is to restore native species across the lower sections of the area, montane scrub on the southern slopes, and to link the forest with woodland on neighbouring properties. Involving volunteers, trainees and school children,  native woodland will be increased across 35 hectares of wild land, and connect to the existing 240 hectares of native woodland via felling existing commercial woodland, planting around 8,000 native trees and protecting other areas to encourage natural regeneration of native trees (around 15,000).

2 Million Tree Project Fundraiser!
As part of the 2 Million Tree Project, EOCA is launching a project that everyone can get involved in – to help raise more money for more trees and leave a legacy from the European outdoor industry and outdoor enthusiasts alike.  This project, run by The Mountain Institute (TMI), is based in Nepal and will plant 80,000 trees in Nepal along 3 off-the-beaten track trekking trails.  The area is degraded due to hunting, poaching, illegal timber and collection of medicinal and aromatic plants - made worse by the 2015 earthquakes and subsequent landslides.  The project will establish nurseries, create a sustainable community wood resource to prevent further deforestation, train local people with new skills and knowledge for a more sustainable approach to natural resources, plant out 80,000 native and locally grown saplings and strengthen the communities’ potential to benefit from visiting trekkers and eco tourism.  EOCA needs to raise the €30,000 for the project to carry out its work. 

So for every €1 donated towards this project, TMI will be able to plant another 2.5 trees for this degraded area!  A donation of just €10 will plant another 25 …….  helping to benefit this stunning area of Nepal, giving trekkers and other visitors the chance to see rare and endangered birds and animals and providing a safer, more secure future for the communities that live there.  To make a contribution to this project and EOCA’s 2 million tree target, please use the donate button on the right hand side of the home page.

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If you are an individual who loves the great outdoors and would like to support our projects, please click the donate button below. During 2017, all money donated will fund tree planting in Nepal as part of our 2 Million Tree Project.
We’re delighted to have been supported by the European Outdoor Conservation Association, who have been
an excellent partner and whose support has enabled us to divert more much-needed funds into local projects.
Dr Matthias Hammer, Biosphere Expeditions