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Growing trees in the climate crisis

In Africa, millions of people live with the effects of the climate crisis every day. But trees offer a solution.

What is the climate crisis?

The issue of climate change — shifts in the Earth’s climate driven by human activities — hit crisis point a long time ago. For millions of people in the Sahel region of Africa where we work, the impacts are devastating.

Temperatures are rising, rainfall is more unpredictable and droughts and floods are becoming more frequent and severe. Land is rapidly losing its fertility and is no longer able to support plant life. As a result, people can't grow enough food, and poverty and migration are increasing.

Community members gathered underneath a huge tree in their village in Ethiopia to get shelter from the sun.

Africa is hardest hit

Africa is hardest hit by the climate crisis, despite contributing to it the least. Even though it is home to 17% of the world’s population, the continent only contributes 4% to global carbon emissions. In contrast, the world’s richest 10% produce around half of global emissions. 

Temperatures across the Sahel have increased by nearly 1°C in the past three decades. This is almost twice the global average. 

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    hectares of land are lost to desertification globally each year

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    people in the Sahel are currently affected by the climate crisis

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    hectares of forests are already degraded in Africa

How is Tree Aid helping?

Trees provide a solution. They absorb carbon dioxide, a leading cause of climate change. They also improve soil fertility and prevent erosion. Their roots stop the ground being washed away in floods, while leaves provide protection from the harsh sun.

Trees also support people to develop resilience. If crops fail due to floods or drought, trees survive to produce fruit, nuts and seeds, to eat and sell. That's why we are working with communities to grow trees and tackle the climate crisis. 

Our impact in 2018/19

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    hectares of land protected and restored

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    trees grown in Africa's drylands

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    people on the frontline of the climate crisis supported

Mbole, a farmer in Ghana, holding up soil that has become so degraded that he can no longer farm on it. Photo credit, Rowan Griffiths, Daily Mirror.

“Over the years, the rainfall became unstable... when the rains come very late, it is difficult to get enough food from my farm for my kids. The training from Tree Aid helped me with tree planting and protection on my farm.” Mbole, Bongo, Ghana

The Great Green Wall

Our work is also part of a bigger movement, challenging the effects of the climate crisisWe are growing trees and restoring land in support of the Great Green Wall initiativeThis African-led initiative envisages an 8,000km mosaic of restored land across the Sahel.

Tree Aid grows 1 tree every 19 seconds for the Great Green Wall, helping to grow futures for millions of people across Africa, whose lives are devastated by the climate crisis.