Replant Native Trees in Peru
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Bring the expanding deserts of western Peru, "the driest place on Earth," back to life.
The Peruvian city of Ica was once surrounded by huarango, a tree that gave life to the famous Nazca society. This mesquite relative is as beautiful as it is useful. Huarango pods can be used as fodder for livestock, ground into flour for human consumption, sweetened into molasses, or even fermented into beer. The light yellow flowers are a haven for bees, and the tree itself helps capture seasonal floodwaters on their way from the Andes to the Pacific, supporting humans, animals, and plants.
But the struggling people of Ica turned in desperation to the trees, cutting them down for charcoal to sell and use in the cities. Now, 98% of the great forest is gone. Without the life-giving properties of the trees, the cleared land is fast becoming uninhabitable desert. The soil has degraded for lack of nutrients that the trees once provided, and is unable to support most plant life. Without the great roots and boughs to protect them, streams, lakes, and lagoons are drying up, leaving arid deserts that spread across the land and cannot support the diversity that once thrived there.
Peru's people suffer as well. The clearing of huarango forests has been suggested as a major factor in the complete collapse of the Nazca society, intensifying the effects of flooding, erosion, and desertification. Without the huarango to bind moisture and counter erosion, the modern inhabitants of western Peru now face the same threat — even as desperate villagers continue to harvest the remaining trees for charcoal.
You can help. Trees for Cities (TFC) is working with local non-profit organization ANIA (Association for Children and the Environment) not only to reintroduce the huarango tree through planting of new seedlings, but also to change public perceptions as to its importance. TFC helps people develop sustainable livelihoods based around the huarango tree, and to understand their true economic and ecological value. TFC hopes to plant 4,000 trees in the 2010/11 year, at the remarkably low cost of only $1 per tree.
Your donation through this Gift That Gives More™ plants 15 native huarango trees in and near the Peruvian city of Ica, helping reverse desertification of the region.
Report from the Field
Your generous support helped Trees for Cities plant 2,486 trees in 2013 in Peru. A huge variety of native and useful trees species were planted, including Huarango (Prosopis limensis), Peruvian pepper (Schinus molle), Cahutao (Tecoma fulva), Pacay (Inga feuillei) & Tara (Caesalpinia spinosa). Trees were planted in a variety of locations including school grounds, on Ica's streets and on communal lands in some of the small towns and villages surrounding Ica. Each species was specially selected for their useful properties and unique ability to survive in extremely arid conditions.
As well as useful native species we also planted over 300 fruiting trees. Varieties included papaya, orange, lemon, passion fruit, pecan, avocado, peach, pomegranate and fig. These fruit trees will revive ancient huerta gardens and will support both local livelihoods and health through the provision of fruit and essential sustenance and nutrition.
Some of the trees were planted at a local secondary school. One of the students, 16 year old Becquer, describes the school grounds before the planting began: 'it was like a desert, only sand and cement. There wasn't any life, there was nothing. You just went straight into the classroom because there was no shade or anything. No one played outside. Now there are trees and shade where we can enjoy they pure air.'
Trees for Cities works with local communities on tree-planting and landscaping projects. Its aim is to tackle global warming, create social cohesion and beautify cities through tree planting, community education, and training initiatives in urban areas of greatest need.
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