When world leaders gathered in Paris to open negotiations for a pivotal international climate agreement, I was happy to see so many heads of state reaffirm the central role of trees and forest landscape restoration in fighting and adapting to climate change.
As an African woman and the daughter of Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement, the restoration agenda is very close to me. The movement my mother established has been mobilizing communities for close to 40 years to restore their landscapes by planting trees for food, for fuel, and to bring barren land back to productive life.
Restoration is also Africa’s best chance to protect itself from climate change. Even though the continent as a whole has contributed minimally to the global climate change problem, Africans will be among those most affected.
By mid-century, Africa’s population is expected to nearly double — from 1.1 billion to 2 billion — pushing the demand for already scarce resources of soil and water. Nearly three-quarters of all drylands in Africa — 1 billion hectares (3.86 million square miles) — are affected by desertification, while a quarter of African agricultur... Read more