Proven solution to climate change key to tackling hunger and poverty: World Vision Australia
About 25% of all ice-free land is degraded worldwide, according to the United Nations, and about 12 million hectares of productive land – an area roughly the size of Greece – is degraded every year. Degraded land is both a cause, and a consequence, of climate change.
Human-induced land degradation such as deforestation, unsustainable farming practices and climate change threaten the survival of poor rural communities. Communities living on degraded land are increasingly suffering due to loss of soil fertility and soil erosion, failed crops, starving livestock, droughts, flooding and a loss of biodiversity. Many farming families are being forced to migrate to crowded cities because the land can no longer support them.
Areas of the world which are the most hungry, thirsty, and vulnerable to climate change, are the same areas where there is tremendous potential for landscape restoration. Landscape restoration is key to addressing the defining mega-challenges of our time including poverty, famine and climate change.
The solution? A simple and sustainable regeneration practice called Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR).
Scientists have identified nature-based solutions such as FMNR as one of the most effective ways to achieve climate mitigation and adaptation by 2030.
FMNR is a low-cost approach that is at least 36 times cheaper than planting a tree and can be replicated across communities. It is a quick and easy process for degraded land restoration which involves regenerating trees from stumps that are still alive or managing new trees growing from wild seedlings through pruning. FMNR can also apply to degraded coastlands and restore mangrove forests. What’s more, trees can grow back quickly because of the strong roots these plants already have in the soil.
This age-old practice which was rediscovered 35 years ago in Niger and pioneered by World Vision Australia’s Principal Climate Action Advisor Tony Rinaudo AM, also known as the “Forest Maker”, involves selection, pruning, protection, and maintenance, and importantly, community empowerment by regreening people’s mindsets and relationships to nature and their environment.
FMNR has achieved great results in increasing agriculture production and household income, for instance, increasing access to firewood, timber and other forest products such as edible fruits, leaves and medicinal products that families can consume or sell for income. It supplies more tree and shrub cover and better grass growth to provide more fodder for livestock and important protein and income sources for families. Farmers can also produce more food to sell with less inputs, diversify income streams, invest in business activities and better provide for their children.
By rehabilitating and restoring degraded forests through this proven solution to climate change, landscapes and ecosystems, FMNR has already improved the lives of thousands of children and adults across Africa and Asia.
A hunger solution you can see from outer space
From the mid-1980s, over a 20-year period, the average tree density in the agricultural zone of the Niger Republic increased across five million hectares, from around four trees per hectare to over 40 trees per hectare. In 2016, the US Geological survey conducted a study across seven West African countries (Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Nigeria) and found more than 15 million hectares of FMNR, six million of which are in the Niger Republic – that’s the equivalent of approximately one million hectares per year over 20 years.
Evidence from across Africa and beyond shows the positive impact that FMNR has on landscapes and communities. Satellite images show how far FMNR has spread across Africa’s parched landscapes. You can see the border of Niger and Nigeria from outer space. In Niger where FMNR is widespread there is abundant tree cover, but in Nigeria the land is barren.
Reforestation through FMNR is happening at an astonishing rate. In less than a generation, previously bare farmland has been transformed into productive agricultural parklands.
Since success in Niger, Tony and World Vision have promoted FMNR across Africa and beyond – and they have already introduced FMNR into development programming in 29 countries. Millions of people worldwide are better equipped to overcome hunger and malnutrition. Now, World Vision is primed to expand this global regreen movement by scaling up FMNR from project level to national level in countries where promising progress has already been made.
Phase one plans include the rapid expansion of FMNR across four catalyst countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia to kickstart the global regreening movement. World Vision’s goal is to regenerate up to 20 percent of all degraded land in these catalyst countries by 2030 through FMNR and complementary land restoration practices.
World Vision is committed to addressing climate change and lift millions of people out of poverty at the same time. World Vision Australia is building a movement of businesses, governments, institutions, farmers and everyday people to unleash FMNR on a scale never seen before.
For more information or if you would like to partner with World Vision Australia and invest your passion, your resources and your influence to start a ripple effect that can change the future for children, visit worldvision.com.au/fmnr or email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.