Investing in reforestation projects with EWF results in social advantages for the people and the environment. These advantages are direct consequences of the reforestation and generate no extra cost.
A first advantage is children education. After establishment of an agro forest, grasses and herbs grow between the trees. This provides feeding for cattle. Herds are fatter at the end of the growth season and can be sold for a higher price. Part of this additional profit is reinvested in children education.
A second advantage of agro forests is the harvesting of fruits and vegetables and the selling thereof in local markets. Mostly women contribute here to and so are implicated in the project.
By the way, EWF chooses for “cash crops” consciously. Acacia Senegal is an example thereof. These produce gum, a binder which is used in the food industry, amongst other things.
Gum always receives a guaranteed price on the international market. That’s the third social advantage. It offers local populations a guaranteed extra income equal to an average yearly salary. This extra income is in turn reinvested in the local economy. Additionally, this commerce and technique guarantees that trees would be looked after since they’d be more worth alive then cut. Clearings don’t occur anymore in these forests.
Besides the socio-economic advantages, the environment also benefits from the agro forests. These forests stop desertification and prevent soil erosion by the intense precipitations during the rainy season.
An increase in biodiversity is a direct consequence of the agro forests’ establishment. The return of dozens of spices, vegetables, the rabbit, the wild guinea fowl, small rodents, wild cat and turtle are all results there of. An extra advantage of forest plantation is CO2 offsetting. Each year, two to six tons of CO2 are trapped per hectare. Thanks to the climatic convention of the Kyoto Protocol, this carbon offset may be traded in the Carbon Market. By investing in CO2 offset, people invest in development cooperation which delivers a guaranteed profit for the entrepreneur and the local communities.