Acacia tree

Quantifiers at work

Ridgeway planting

Our forestry project is centred around Bushenyi in southwest Uganda. This is a humid, tropical area at elevations of 3,000 feet and over. Regional agriculture is typically based on mixed farming of cows and crops. Common produce includes beans, millet, ground nuts, maize, potatoes, peas and banana. Our local partner is The International Small Group and Tree Planting Programme (TIST).

The project has two main objectives. Firstly, it encourages small farmers to plant and maintain the trees they need. Secondly, it has developed a unique methodology which enables such farmers to benefit from small cash incomes generated from the carbon market under the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto incorporated the concept of carbon credits which can be traded on the open market: planting trees can generate such credits as trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester the carbon in the wood they form.

The opportunity to create carbon credits provides a huge incentive to small farmers to plant and look after trees �trees that are also so important to them for other reasons. Farmers in these regions struggle to make a living and the attraction of generating a small cash income through tree planting is considerable. The challenge is to create authenticated credits under Kyoto �this requires accurate measurement and ongoing monitoring of the trees planted. TIST has addressed this challenge in an innovative way: it encourages farmers to organise themselves into Small Groups which become partners in TIST’s overall cooperative for collecting data and recording tree growth. The meticulous counting and measurement of the trees is facilitated by the use

Palm (hand held) technology

Farmers growing trees

of palm (hand held) computer technology. TIST is able to “bundle�these tiny quantities of carbon together into sizeable chunks and make single block applications for credits. These credits are then sold and, after meeting the programme costs, TIST distributes the balance of the money to the individual farmers. These farmers could not by themselves hope to access Kyoto payments which involve hugely complex, expensive and bureaucratic procedures.

We do not provide the Small Groups with any seeds or tools: these costs are met by the farmers. A high proportion of the programme’s expenditure centres on training participants who actually do the tree raising and planting themselves.

Our Trust has funded the expansion of this programme into Uganda from neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania. Progress in Uganda has been extraordinary and has far outstripped expectations: typically around 350,000 new trees are planted out each year.

This highly innovative programme achieves large scale tree planting by the local communities who need them. Furthermore it is making a contribution towards addressing the overall challenge of world climate change.

How can you help?

Current projects

Click links below for further information:

Past Projects

Ecuador, India (Orissa), Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Niger, Sudan, Zimbabwe