Reconcile Forests

An all-too-often ignored cause of poverty is deforestation which is having a drastic negative impact on Madagascar as over 80% of its forests have been cut down.  With the loss of inland forests, the rain patterns change,

SerobitySproutCircle-296x300water tables drop, fertile topsoil erodes, crops suffer and livelihoods are drastically altered.  Likewise, as the coastal mangrove forests disappear, villages are no longer protected from devastating cyclones, breeding grounds for ocean fish diminish, lumber for building houses and canoes decrease, and wood for cooking is more expensive.  The Red Island Project is partnering with Eden Reforestation Projects to address the root issue; planting trees and recreating forests.​

Neal will be working side by side with Jamie Shattenberg, who has been the Director for ERP in Madagascar since it’s inception in 2007.  In 2012, a crew of 175 women and men successfully planted over 18 million mangrove trees along the northwest coast, bringing the total count up to over 50 million trees in the last six years.​
In September 2012, we initiated our first dry-deciduous reforestation project and the Hands in the Dirt nursery training center.  So how does this all happen?  Well for starters, a 16-meter deep well (that’s 52 feet!!) was dug by hand, a crew comprised of 23 women and 7 men from our immediate community were hired and worked hard to transform a barren piece of land into a functioning nursery.  They collected thousands of seeds representing more than 30 different endemic trees.  In January 2013, the first 40,000 endemic hardwood and fruit bearing trees were planted and hundreds of women and men will be employed.​
As forests are restored, jobs are created and lives are transformed.  Women and men are receiving their first-ever steady income, children are being sent to school, families are able to seek medical care, people are able to escape modern-day slavery in the form of debt bondage, and individuals are able to start their own small businesses.  Families are being lifted out of extreme poverty, mothers and fathers are standing proudly because they can provide for their children and there is hope for a better future.  Ultimately, as people care for creation, they are drawn to the Creator.

Problem.                                                                                                                                                  Solution.