Last month we were again reminded, by the IPCC, that our climate is in a bad way, and that things will only worsen from hereon out. Record forest fires have wrecked rich and poor regions alike, with huge CO2-emissions as a consequence. And this week it was confirmed that July was the warmest month since we started measuring in 1850.
What to do? Does it even matter to plant trees anymore? EVERYTHING matters. Every kilo of COCO2 we can sequester matters and will lessen the destructive impacts. We owe it to future generations to do everything we can to reduce the warming impacts we are causing.
And as if abrupt climate change and natural disaster isn’t enough, our planters also have to battle COVID and Dengue fever in Madagascar. Two waves of COVID hit the people on the ground, as well as a simultaneous outbreak of Dengue fever.
We write this update report against a very dire background this past year. Thankfully, we also bring good news in finishing our first 127-hectare site in Madagascar, having achieved great learnings on robustness of planting density, and we are on to our next site, neighboring the first site (see pictures at the end of the update).
Since starting planting on Madagascar with Eden Projects, we have now reached full planting of our first site, topping out at 127 hectares. According to our simple rule of thumb, at 20 tons of CO2 per hectare, that gives us a sequestering of 2,540 tons of carbon in trees and soil!
At the same time, we rejoice that these mangroves protect the Madagascar shoreline against erosion and that Eden now (Summer of 2021) employs 37 full time employees, planting mangroves for us and other climate aware organizations. Read more in the report from Eden: Grow For It, 2nd Year Update Reforestation Report, Antsanitia 2.
Increased planting density
Grow For It´s mangrove trees were initially planted with one sapling per sq.m., but due to difficult conditions for the saplings, the planter teams in Madagascar have learned that up to two saplings per sq.m. provides a better overall protection (especially against waves) and thereby ensures the longevity of the total population of mangroves. From this learning (and other similar mangrove sites) Eden Projects have gained valuable experience, and we are very happy to have them as a partner – they are truly a trustworthy partner.
Eden have explained to us that future plantings will be with up to two saplings per sq.m. And according to this USAID expert report (USAID report, pdf) it can be argued that densities of even up to 16 saplings per sq.m. may be feasible for planting in very harsh conditions. However, from our experiences from similar projects, we estimate that one-four saplings per sq.m. should be feasible for our sites at Madagascar. In this regard, comparing to lumber forest should not be done, where densities are lower, as these mangrove trees are planted for climate and ecosystem purposes.
The increased density will influence future price per hectare, and we are currently in dialogue with Eden on how to define the actual sequestering potential for the new density. More on this later.
Welcome to the new site (same as the old site, only opposite side of the “river”)
The new site is almost identical in size, as it is 125 hectares (vs. the old site of 127 hectares). In all other respects, the same conditions apply – erosion haunts the area, which is why only mangrove trees are feasible to plant and the only safeguard against erosion.
If you want to take a closer look at the new site, it is located at: 15°34’5.10”S, 46°26’10.05”E
In sum, we are very happy working with Eden Projects and we hope to include them in our planting portfolio many years into the future.
We have received these pictures for the new site: