We have been protecting and restoring forest ecosystems since 2007

Whether protecting a swamp or beech forest, establishing a forest fringe or protecting species-rich rainforests in Madagascar - from the very beginning, Naturefund's conservation work has focused on preserving forests and planting trees to create new forests on deforested areas. 

The starting signal: rainforest conservation and reforestation in Honduras

It all began in 2007 with the protection and reforestation of rainforest in the Patuca National Park in Honduras. Until 2015, Naturefund was active here with the local non-profit nature conservation organization Asociación Patuca, which designed and implemented the protection and conservation of Patuca National Park on behalf of the Honduran government. Together, we planted trees and used the sustainable cultivation and reforestation method of dynamic agroforestry for the first time. In addition to native tree species for reforestation, cocoa, coffee and mango trees were also planted. Their yield served as an additional source of income for farming families, while at the same time a species-rich forest was created. Our goal was to plant 50,000 trees. By the end of the project in March 2015, we had actually planted 105,283 trees and successfully protected forest areas!

Viele verschiedene Baumsetzlinge stehen bereit zur Pflanzung auf abgeholzter Fläche im Nationalpark Patuca in Honduras
Young trees specially grown in nurseries are ready for planting
Photo: Naturefund
Zwei Männer pflanzen Baumsetzling auf abgeholzter Fläche im Nationalpark Patuca in Honduras
Tree seedling is planted
Photo: Asociación Patuca

Also active nationally in forest protection

Gradually, more and more projects for the protection and reforestation of intact forest ecosystems followed.

For example, the "Germany plants a tree!" project, which was also launched in 2007. This involved planting 50,000 native tree and shrub seedlings in various locations. One reforestation area was located in Kelkheim in the Taunus region. The next national project also promoted forest ecosystems: In Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Naturefund worked with Michelin to plant a total of 30,000 trees, including copper beeches, oaks, Speyerling and yews. The plantings promoted the development of a near-natural, species-rich, resilient forest. These areas are often vital for the survival of animals and plants in cleared landscapes. 

Forest purchase versus forest protection

In our forest purchase projects, which focus on the purchase of land, a local nature conservation organization almost always becomes the owner and guardian of the land. However, the land is often left to its own devices so that an unused natural area can be created.

This is not the case with our reforestation projects, where we do not acquire land but support farming families on their plots of land in sustainable cultivation, such as our project in Honduras. Our founder Katja Wiese: "When you buy land, especially in other countries, it has a lot to do with home, identity and livelihood. So the solution cannot be to simply buy this land away, even if it is for nature conservation." Instead, we work with small local farmers who own the land themselves. Species-rich edible forests are created on the land, the pressure on intact forests decreases, while at the same time the farmers' crop yields increase - partly due to increased soil fertility. The areas are located around existing forests or on the edge of national parks, allowing them to grow back bit by bit. 

Teilnehmende einer Schulung zur nachhaltigen Anbaumethode Dynamischer Agroforst auf Madagaskar posieren für Gruppenbild
Employees & participants of our project in Madagascar
Photo: Naturefund

Long-term protection has top priority

Naturefund has so far successfully implemented or started 22 tree projects - and planted more than half a million trees in the process. Whether in the tropical rainforest of Madagascar, in the primeval forest of the Andes, on local orchards or in urban green spaces: on average, more than 10,000 trees and many different companion species are planted by Naturefund every year.

By planting trees in fields, Naturefund creates new income opportunities for farmers in Africa, Latin America and Europe. "The trees bring life back to an area. So we can't plant enough of them," says Katja Wiese, founder of Naturefund. 

The important thing: Naturefund designs its measures locally for nature and for or with the people in the regions. The wishes of the population, long-term change and the sustainability of the measures are paramount.

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