Ecological Balance Brazes up to Rewild Community Forests, Watersheds with 30,000 Trees

Ecological Balance is fine-tuning strategies and putting hands on deck to raise 35000 seedlings and ensure that at least 30,000 are planted before the end of 2022.

The Organization  is currently engaged in collecting seeds, filling in polybags with top soil mixed with fowl dung (organic manure), and potting of seedlings at it tree nursery in Bomaka-Buea, SW Cameroon, with a special focus on trees classified as threatened on the IUCN Red List. The potted seedlings are watered and dewed to ensure that they are healthy. .

Over 12000 seeds of Mahogany have so far been collected from Bokwango and 500 of njangsa from Bova and nursed. Over 2000 seeds of Leuceana  & 1000 of bauhinia have also been collected  from the University of Buea and over 1000 of seeds of acacia from Bulu and nursed. These seedlings will be added unto the 3323 seedlings of Jakaranda, Jathropha, prunus, mahogany, acacia, jack fruit tree, vocanga, njangsa, erythrina, sour sop, orange, lemon, pebbe, lueceana, bush mango, pignantus, money tree and plum tree seedlings that were raised in 2021.

“We have a big target this year of raising the nursery from 3323 trees in 2021, to 35000 in 2022, while hoping to  plant at least 30000 of them in community forests in Cameroon including the Etinde and Bakingili community forests, and water catchments. This only means we have to plan well and begin early,” said Madam Limbi Blessing, the Executive Director of Ecological Balance. 

According to her, these trees will  revamp community forest ecosystems, ensure community forest level sustainability in the management of forest resources, increase goods and services from forest and recharge ground water and improve water tables.  

NJIAFU BENARDIN

90% of 1000 Trees Planted at Etinde Community Forest Survives!

Up to 90% of over 1000 trees seedlings, which Ecologocal Balance planted into a deforested patch of the Etinde community forest in West Coast-Idenau of the South West Region of Cameroon in November 2021, have survived. This information was made public by the  Head of Forest Rewilding at Ecological Balance, Njiafu Benardin, following an evaluation trip to the Community Forest in February 2022.

Etome is one of the several villages that hosts the Etinde Community Forest in the Mount Cameroon Area, South West Region of Cameroon within the Bakingili forest landscape. This community forest continually lost its forest to deforestation for agricultural purposes, fuel wood and timber harvesting, and from lava flowing from Mt Etinde.

Cognizant of this and in line with its desire to provide habitat for wildlife and mitigate climate change, Ecological Balance Cameroon in 2021 committed to helping the village to rebuild their forest, tree by tree. Over 10 native species including Entandrophragma angolensis (big leave mahogany) Riccinodendron heudolotii (njangsa), Irvingia gabonesis (bush mango) and Monodora myristica (pebbe) and some fruit and nut producing trees were planted. The choice of these predominantly local spices-producing trees, was to make the women and community value their forest more and jealously preserve it

 Meanwhile, more tree planting events are planned for the months ahead. Routine monitoring and evaluation activities like deweeding, collection of data on growth characteristics, wildlife etc will continue for up to 24 months when the forest is expected to be self-sustaining. It is hoped that through this project, up to one hectare of degraded forest land will be restored in order to restore biodiversity habitats, recharge ground water recharge & improve water tables, increase quantities & varieties as well as sequester carbon amongst others. The rewilding project is being carried out  thanks to financial support from Stiftung Arthenschutz.  

Eco Balance, Potting 5000 Mahogany Trees for Reforestation in South West Cameroon

Ecological Balance has embarked on the potting of 5000 mahogany trees, as part of the close to 30 tree species ear-marked for her 2500 capacity tree nursery in Buea. This nursery is expected to provide good quality planting material for the Organization’s 2021 rewilding endeavours.

Commonly known as big leave Mahogany, Entandropragma angolensis is one of the giants of tropical rainforest with broad leaves especially suitable for water catchment protection. Classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List, this iconic species is highly cherished locally as the back is used in the treatment of stomach ache and fever. It is one of the top 10 timber species foraged from the Congo Basin Forests and widely used in the furniture, plywood and fishing boat manufacturing industries amongst others.

Managed by a team of trained botanists from Ecological Balance, in the days ahead the mahogany seedlings from this nursery will be transplanted into water catchments within the Buea Municipality. This as a way of curbing the long-standing water crisis that the town has been plunged in over the years. The trees will be planted by the miyawaki method that is known to recharge, purify and conserve ground water 30times faster. Some of the trees will be planted at the Bakingili Community Forest to mitigate deforestation and revamp the wildlife haven.

Established in June 2020 following difficulties faced by the Eco Balance team in getting planting material during the first 2miyawaki forests, plans are underway to expand the nursery to 100,000 saplings of at least 50species found in the Congo Basin Forest, according to the Executive Director, Limbi Blessing.

Meanwhile, trees planted at Bulu Water Catchment, using to Miyawaki method, to clean, recharge and conserve the underground water by the Ecological Balance team in collaboration with the community is already serving as anchor  to many biodiversity species, one year after. With support from SUGI, Ecological Balance planted some 3000  trees at the lone water source in  Bulu, a small village in Buea subdivision, South West Region, following the Miyawaki method known to recharge ground water thirty times faster; tree growth thirty times faster, as well as purify water amongst others. Recent statistics from Ecological Balance’s Field Manager, Njiafu Benardin, shows that 90% of the trees have survived and are serving as habitat for biodiversity species like crab, butter fly, birds, bees, frogs, caterpillars, millipede, insects, beetles and others.

Community members are anticipating how the 20 different trees species including Prunus africana, Mahogani, Dacryodes macrophyla, drum stick, avocado, jack fruit, mango, erythrina, Jatropha curcas, leuceana, acacia, Voacanga angolense, richinis comunis, plums, guava, umbrella tree, apple, bauhinia and Pachira aquatic has and will help them and the environment. .  “Since the planting of these trees, we have noticed that, the water catchment is always clean,”Mafani John, Chief of Bulu village said.

Though geared towards increasing the recharge of water at the Bulu Water Catchment serving as the lone source of drinking water to the Bulu community and other neighbouring villages, the planting of these trees was equally motivated by the need to contribute to global afforestation efforts and the mitigation of climate change.

Eco Balance to Partner with NGO, FMCs for Forests Creation in Fako

Ecological Balance is set to partner with some four community water and forest management committees and a non-profit organization for the creation of forests of at least 5600trees in close to 2ha in Fako Division, South West Cameroon, using the Miyawaki method.

The Miyawaki technique is an innovative reforestation method, which restores indigenous ecosystems and natural vegetation by practically forcing, reproducing and accelerating natural successional times. The method has been proven to work worldwide, irrespective of soil and climatic conditions and more than 3,000 forests have been successfully created around the world.

In August 2019, as a build-up to the global climate strikes, Eco Balance undertook the commitment to plant at least 5000trees every year. These trees, which are to be planted as closed forest blocks, seeks to contribute towards climate change mitigation as well as train help community forests fulfill their reforestation objective.

So far, the organization has had a series of meetings in September with WEWULEY Consultancy with headquarters in Bova 1 village, Lyangamelle Bonalyonga & Upper Bwando village water management committees and the Bakingili & Woteva Community Forests, with roles in the implementation of the project, spelled out.

WEWULEY Consultancy, for example, is to serve in community mobilization and monitoring while Lyangamelle Bonalyonga and Upper Bwando village water management committees provide nursery and planting sites. They are also expected to provide after-care for planted forests in their localities. Meanwhile, Bakingili and Woteva Community forests, led by their management officers, will provide nursery and planting sites as well as aftercare for planted forests. Eco balance, on the other hand, will serve as the resource mobilizer and provider of technical services.

According to the Founder/Director of WEWULEY Consultancy, this project is a stitch on time that would definitely save lives. “I can tell you that without trees we are nothing. Today, we suffer from a severe water shortage in my village, Bova 1. We buy water because our sources have all dried up’. ‘We cannot even sustain the cost of running a community tree nursery in Bova,” he lamented.

By Limbi Blessing