Africa is a continent with immense potential to sequester carbon and mitigate climate change. There are many communities, countries, and people working to implement effective climate solutions to build a more sustainable future for Africa and the world.
Our partners at Open Forest Protocol, implementing the protocol on the ground, are the stars of this story, the reason OFP exists at all, and a reminder that the future of a healthy planet depends on supporting and empowering one another to implement effective climate solutions.
“Africa is responsible for less than 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But it is the continent which is the least able to cope with the negative impacts of climate change. Heatwaves, heavy rains, floods, tropical cyclones, and prolonged droughts are having devastating impacts on communities and economies, with increasing numbers of people at risk.”- World Meteorological Organization.
Through carbon finance mechanisms, we are able to help keep forests and trees in the ground while at the same time providing a robust financial pathway for development and growth into the future. Without further ado, meet the top Open Forest Protocol projects from across the African continent who are working everyday to make this a reality. They are on the front lines of climate action, in one of the most biodiverse and vital parts of the world.
Serving farmers in both Laikipia and Nyeri Counties, Horizon Business Ventures aims to create farm-level forests to restore degraded farming landscape using original native tree species. With a focus on small holder farmers, their short, medium and long term goals to grow the project range from 2000 to 10,000 hectares. Every farm- level forest will comprise of a minimum of six tree species and encourage undergrowth of shrubs and herbs that have commercial value, such as Leleswa, Lippia, nettle, clove and wild basil in order to enhance the value of the small forest to the farmer.
“Being part of the Open Forest Protocol ecosystem is not just about planting trees; it’s about fostering communities’ resilience and preserving biodiversity. OFP has made carbon financing easy, their process, ease of interaction, responsiveness and timeliness, is unlike others in the same sector” Lucy Muiruri, Program Coordinator, HSHC, key project partner.
To motivate the farmers to plant, conserve and maintain the trees, Horizon Ventures uses the “3 B model”: Biodiversity, Business and Bread. This balances conservation, profit and livelihoods. Partners include the county government, Help Self Help Centre, farmers organizations and other private sectors.
Challenges that the project faces includes a lack of technical knowledge regarding native tree propogation and management, lack of access to good quality seedlings, and the effects of climate change that have wrought long droughts and uncovered the need for climate-smart planting techniques.
As for the future of Horizon Business Ventures, their hope is that the degraded farming landscape in Nyeri and Laikipia is completely restored with native trees through a 3Bs model, providing tangible benefits, environmentally and socially.
Kisampa Conservancy is a 3000 hectare community conservancy in the village of Matipwili, Coastal Tanzania, East Africa, adjacent to Saadani National Park. The primary focus is the protection of the natural habitat that is at risk of being unsustainably exploited, providing a sanctuary to both flora and fauna whilst providing tangible benefits to the community through employment and environmentally sound revenue streams.
Challenges that Kisampa faces include unsustainable exploitation of the community resources: From over fishing of the Wami River along the southern boundary, to the cutting of trees for charcoal or timber planks to feed the insatiable demand in the large city of Dar Es Salaam, to poaching for protein using wire snares. The illegal entry of pastoralist cattle also causes soil degradation and erosion and has the potential to push out wildlife and put pressure on water resources.
“Kisampa Conservancy is delighted to be a founding member of Open Forest Protocol. To be able to validate our forests by ourselves using OFP is a game changer for small communities. This process enables us and any other community project to sustainably validate and manage their natural resources cost effectively and we are very proud to be a part of that process.”- Rob Barbour
The Kisampa vision is to provide the community the resources and tools to continue to protect this area forever. For this, they need good validation methodology and third party verification, which OFP is providing. In the future, they aim to have carbon or biodiveristy revenue to fund the conservation efforts, as well as include neighboring villages to increase protected areas.
Located in the southwest region of Cameroon, Voices for Forest Alliance in in the Bimbia Bonadikombo community forest mobilizes women to plant 10,000 indigenous trees on degraded water catchment areas. This land area covers a total of 20,000 hectares of land. Led by Ewi Lamma, an environmental activist and changemaker in Cameroon, this project is already uplifting hundreds of women to make a sustainable livelihood.
“Through OFP I understood better the importance of remote sensing and the use of GIS in landscape restoration. This is new to us and they are patiently taking us through the learning process.”- Ewi Lamma
The largest challenges that Ewi and Voices for Forest Alliance face is funding to expand and extend activities, which is where carbon financing comes in. However, hopes for the future include empowering over 2,000 rural women in sustainable livelihoods. Using Open Forest Protocol, Voices for Forest Alliance will be able to begin the measurement, reporting, and verification process, with carbon financing soon to follow.
Herou Alliance, powered by visionary and entrepeneur Rokiatou Traoré, has already planted 18,000 trees in 2022 and trained 1,000 farmers. This year, Herou Alliance aims to economically empower 5,000 farmers in Mali by the end of 2023, 65% of which are women and youth, and create a positive finance cycle. The goal for 2023 is to plant over 100,000 Moringa trees, which will generate income to benefit farmers families, communiies, and environment. Rokiatou chose the Moringa tree in particular as it is a fast-growing, drought and harsh climate condition resistant tree that can grow up to 2 meters.
Moringa trees have vast nutritional and environmental benefits, sequestering carbon dioxide 20 times more than other tree species and provides a versatile and highly nutiritonal food source to fight malnutrition. Current challenges of the project include army worms, termites and cricket invasion, which has destroyed 150,000 seedlings, as well as the need for an irrigation system for women and young farmers. education surrounding tree planting and tree products is also needed for the community to generate sustainable income sources.
Hopes for the future include seeing a greener west Africa where women and young farmers are economically independent and empowered with tree based businesses, and where children, youth, adults and elders live a peaceful and nutritious life. Using Open Forest Protocol, Herou Alliance will initially meaure 500 hectares to begin with (subject to change) and soon transition to carbon financing mechanisms.
To learn more about these incredible projects making headway on the ground, tune into the Open Forest Protocol live panel, or watch the recording below. To support Open Forest Protocol as we bring the world’s most transparent carbon forward, subscribe to our newsletter and follow along on social media. We are always open to new partners, projects, validators, and contributors.