Who are TreeSisters?
TreeSisters is an amazing organization that supports feminine based leadership through global tree planting initiatives, focusing on reforestation, community, indigenous wisdom, and fostering global partnerships. Run by and for women, in numerous locations around the world, with an emphasis on the equatorial regions. They provide income and purpose to the local women they work with. We couldn't be more proud to partner with this amazing organization and be part of the work they do!
TreeSisters is a UK registered social change and reforestation charity that places tropical forest restoration into everyone’s hands. Through the contributions of individuals and businesses that give back to nature every month, TreeSisters has so far (as of November 2022) funded the planting of over 26.6 million trees, across 12 locations in Brazil, Borneo, Cameroon, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Madagascar, Nepal and West Papua.
They want to rapidly accelerate tropical reforestation by inspiring and channeling women's Nature Based Feminine Leadership into global action. They encourage feminine leadership by providing resources, experiences and communities that inspire personal and collective action on behalf of the trees. Their approach is the balance of inner and outer, spiritual and practical, behavioral and ecological pathways towards that shift. This is a process of discovering how to engage, nourish, inspire and activate women into their unique gifts and generosity on behalf of themselves, each other and the forests that we love and need.
What Is TreeSistsers' Reforestation Strategy?
They plant trees to restore ecosystems and livelihoods, while increasing protection against the extremes of climate change in multiple regions of the tropical forest belt. They do this in ways that recreate and restore natural forest ecosystems using indigenous species, fostering local knowledge and skills, and promoting women's participation. They strive to do it intelligently, appropriately, respectfully and successfully.
Forests play a vital role in the hydrological cycles of our world, sequester the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is driving climate change and provide the most biodiverse regions on earth. When trees are removed, vibrant ecosystems are often over farmed, eroded and rendered infertile, in a cascade effect that is mirrored with social decline, grinding poverty and climate extremes.
Reforestation can rapidly reverse these trends, providing critical habitat, stabilizing and nourishing the soils, restoring watersheds, revitalizing dry springs and providing good quality water to large populations living downstream.
TreeSisters focus on four primary environmental goals:
1. Protection and expansion of Intact Forest Landscapes.
2. Restoration and protection of watersheds.
3. Controlling soil erosion (as extreme weather and deforestation cause run off).
4. Restoring topsoil and land fertility.
And two primary socio-economic goals:
1. Improving community livelihoods and forest interdependence.
2. Fostering women's participation, empowerment and incomes.
Supporting Local Communities and Sustainable Ecosystems
Tropical forests are more than 'the lungs' of our world- they are the beating heart of the hydrological cycle. As weather stabilizers, rain creators and cleansers, they are intimately tied to our health and our food. They are ecological healers, crucial for biodiversity and major carbon sinks that absorb excess atmospheric carbon that otherwise acidifies our oceans, clogs the air we breathe and contributes to extreme weather conditions. We cannot live without them, and we are losing them at staggering rates. Destruction needs to stop and restoration needs to become the new norm.
"We envision a world where it is normal for everyone to protect and restore both themselves and the world. "
At TreeSisters, the wisdom held by indigenous peoples is deeply valued and they take a stand to protect the vital role the local indigenous people play in steering humanity back into the right relationship with Mother Nature. TreeSisters works hard to ensure that their reforestation projects involve local leadership, so that the real needs of local communities on the ground are met. TreeSisters also partners with other charitable organizations that are currently working in other locations, such as The Eden Reforestation Project, Project Green Hands, We Forest and Trees Of Life.
A key element to always keep in mind, is that TreeSisters' reforestation projects occur in rural areas of developing countries. Communities that live in these areas are heavily dependent on the surrounding trees and forests for their livelihoods. The effects of these programs reach beyond the forests themselves and into the very hearts and lives of these people.
In the tropics, people depend on trees to survive. Primary uses for cut timber products include fuelwood for cooking, building houses, making charcoal, fencing and poles. Local use of the forests by these communities have a significant impact: 30-40% of deforestation is due to local/subsistence agriculture.
In order to protect and respect local communities that rely on the timber, wood and trees that TreeSisters plants, it is impossible to impose strict and permanent protection of all of the trees they fund. Imposing such protections would simply displace timber harvesting activities onto nearby forests; forests that could be carbon-rich, old growth and biodiverse. Local communities would continue to encroach on other nearby habitats by practicing slash-and-burn or swidden agriculture.
In order to protect high value forests from these potential impacts, it is important to respect people’s rights to access the forest; 20-30% of the trees that TreeSisters fund are for livelihood purposes, for the communities’ own consumption. They are also for revenue generation, from the sale of forest products, such as charcoal, honey, wild fruits, firewood, timber and many other non-timber forest products. By providing livelihood trees, they are also protecting nearby remnant and old growth forests. It is imperative to support existing populations, working within their cultural traditions, rather than trying to impose western ideology. This is a key factor in the success of new growth strategies.
Ongoing Care And Maintenance
TreeSisters' reforestation partners ensure the good maintenance of the funded trees, for a minimum of 2 years, and up to 10 years after planting, depending on the project. In their experience, this is the period necessary to ensure the trees will continue to grow well on their own. It also provides a steady reliable income for the locals to continue care taking the new saplings.
A few of the techniques TreeSisters and their partners use, depending on the climate and needs of each location, include:
- Controlling weeds and creating firebreaks. They use a technique called "singling," which consists of converting a dense group of bushes or trees into taller trees, by only letting one stem grow into a trunk - the purpose being to swiftly create a canopy and shade for other species to thrive under.
- Providing advice and assistance to the communities and individuals involved. Their reforestation partners visits the tree seedlings or saplings that were delivered to the farmers for two years, to troubleshoot and provide technical advice. This is necessary to ensure that the trees become self-sustainable, and that farmers are fully proficient at cultivating trees on their farms.
- Maintenance and monitoring for 5 years after the site opens for regeneration. This includes isolating and protecting the area with fences and firebreaks, planting the fewest trees necessary to shade out weeds, and controlling invasive grass around the trees for the first two years.
- Monitoring the annual survival rates of the tree seedlings at permanent monitoring plots within the planting sites for 10 years. These permanent plots are for long term monitoring of detailed changes in forest dynamics and they may also decide to enhance and adapt their reforestation practice depending on monitoring results.
Final Thoughts- Lotus Tribe And TreeSisters
Humanity has always coexisted with the trees. They create the air we breathe and improve our mood and well being. They also help mitigate climate change and provide many of our needs, from food and shelter, to cosmetics and medicine. As caretakers of the planet, it is each of our responsibilities to tread lightly and give back in any way possible. Radical reforestation of the Earth is our goal. Lotus Tribe partnered with TreeSisters because they are a wonderful organization, that helps empower feminine based leadership, whilst reforesting the world. They empower indigenous communities and provide ongoing support to create jobs, save old growth forests, increase habitats and generally make the planet a better, healthier place for us all. With your purchases, we will continue to give back to Mother Earth and will plant another 20,000 trees in no time. Do yourself a favor and go hug a tree today!