Mara is a mesmerizing region that captivates visitors with its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural tapestry. Nestled in the northern part of Tanzania, Mara is renowned for the iconic Serengeti National Park, a sprawling expanse that hosts the Great Migration, a natural spectacle where millions of wildebeest and zebras traverse the plains in search of greener pastures.
Where Wildlife Wonders and Maasai Traditions Unite
The region is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering unrivaled opportunities for safari adventures, allowing visitors to witness the majestic Big Five and a myriad of other fascinating creatures in their natural habitats.
Beyond its wildlife wonders, Mara is home to vibrant Maasai communities, known for their distinctive attire and traditional beadwork. Engaging with the local Maasai people provides a unique glimpse into their ancient customs and age-old traditions, adding a cultural dimension to the awe-inspiring natural beauty that defines Mara, Tanzania.
Restoring and Returning to a thriving land
In Mara, forest resources have been used up to such an extent that local smallholder farmers are struggling with infertile soil, low water tables and erratic rainfall.
That's why we have chosen to partner with WeForest. Their project grows seedlings in nurseries and distributes them to the people that need them most. With agroforestry systems on their farms, schools and churches, families and institutions are able to grow their own fodder, fuelwood, fibre, fruit and timber, and so no longer need to depend on local forests for food or incomes.
More than Planting Trees
The Butiama Hills Project is more than just tree planting; it's a comprehensive initiative. Beyond trees, we focus on enhancing forest connectivity, implementing fire monitoring, and establishing a local seed collection network.
The project actively involves rural landowners through tailored education and training, fostering their participation in restoration initiatives on their properties. Additionally, agroforestry programs create climate-resilient livelihoods.
Livelihood opportunities, including employment and seed collection, are part of the collaborative approach for sustained impact. It's a holistic effort addressing ecological restoration, community engagement, and sustainable livelihoods.
Watch & Learn about the Project
- Biodiversity Conservation: Restoration efforts support the diverse flora and fauna native to the Serengeti, preserving the unique ecosystems and contributing to the conservation of iconic species like wildebeests, zebras, and lions.
- Water Quality Improvement: Vegetation restoration aids in maintaining the pristine water quality of the Serengeti's rivers and watering holes, crucial for the health of wildlife and local communities.
- Soil Erosion Prevention: By stabilizing soil, restoration activities help prevent erosion in the park, safeguarding the integrity of the landscape and supporting the habitats of various species.
- Flood Control: Restoration projects play a vital role in managing water flow, preventing soil erosion, and reducing the risk of flooding in the Serengeti, especially during the rainy season.
- Wildlife Habitat: Increased forest connectivity enhances the habitat mosaic, providing vital corridors for wildlife movement, crucial for migration patterns and overall ecosystem health.
- Enhanced Air Quality: Trees and vegetation contribute to cleaner air, benefiting both wildlife and visitors to the Serengeti Park.
- Microclimate Regulation: Vegetation restoration helps regulate local temperatures, contributing to the creation of microclimates that are more suitable for various species in the region.
- Medicinal Plants: Restoration efforts can include the cultivation of indigenous medicinal plants, supporting traditional healing practices in local communities.
- Carbon Storage in Soil: Healthy soils contribute to carbon sequestration, aiding in climate change mitigation and maintaining the Serengeti's ecological balance.
- Stormwater Management: Vegetation assists in managing stormwater, preventing erosion and preserving the natural water flow patterns essential for the Serengeti's ecosystems.
- Fire Monitoring and Mitigation: Implementation of fire monitoring and prevention measures helps protect the Serengeti from uncontrolled burns, preserving the natural fire regimes essential for the region's ecology.
- Water Recharge: Restoration activities contribute to increased water recharge in the region, ensuring the availability of water for both wildlife and local communities.
- Local Seed Collection Network: Establishing a local seed collection network promotes the use of indigenous plant species, supporting the restoration of the Serengeti's unique vegetation.
- Comprehensive Restoration Plan: A collaboratively developed restoration plan ensures that efforts are aligned with the specific needs and challenges of the Serengeti Park region, considering its distinct ecosystems and cultural significance.
- Community Engagement: Restoration projects involving local communities foster a sense of shared responsibility and stewardship for the Serengeti, creating a collaborative approach to conservation.
- Cultural Heritage Preservation: Restoration efforts contribute to the preservation of cultural landscapes and traditional practices of indigenous communities connected to the Serengeti, enriching the cultural heritage of the region.
- Job Creation: Implementation and maintenance of restoration projects provide employment opportunities for local residents, contributing to sustainable livelihoods and economic development.
- Educational Opportunities: Restoration projects offer educational programs that raise awareness about the unique ecosystems of the Serengeti, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation among local communities and visitors.
- Recreation and Aesthetics: Well-maintained green spaces enhance the aesthetic value of the Serengeti, providing recreational spaces for both local residents and tourists.
- Community Health: Access to green spaces has been linked to improved mental well-being, and well-maintained natural environments contribute to overall community health.
- Increased Property Values: Proximity to a well-preserved and restored Serengeti Park may positively impact property values in nearby communities, providing economic benefits.
- Tourism Opportunities: A restored and well-maintained Serengeti Park can attract tourists, creating opportunities for local businesses and generating revenue for the community.
- Collaborative Planning: A collaboratively developed restoration plan ensures that local communities have a voice in the decision-making process, fostering a sense of ownership and inclusion.
- Traditional Healing Practices: The cultivation of indigenous medicinal plants supports traditional healing practices in local communities, preserving cultural knowledge related to the use of local plant species.
- Cultural Exchange: Tourism and educational initiatives create opportunities for cultural exchange between local communities and visitors, promoting mutual understanding and appreciation.
- Capacity Building: Restoration projects can include training programs that enhance the skills and capacity of local residents in areas such as conservation, sustainable agriculture, and tourism.
- Empowerment of Indigenous Communities: Involving indigenous communities in restoration projects empowers them to actively participate in the conservation and sustainable management of their ancestral lands.
- Community Well-being: A well-restored and preserved Serengeti contributes to the overall well-being of local communities, providing them with a healthy and thriving environment.
- Mobilization of rural landowners for restoration of Areas of Permanent Preservation and Legal Reserves on private property
- Restoration needs assessment and implementation plans for rural properties to support alignment with environmental policies
- Support in the development of Park Management Plans
- Riverbank stabilization (as needed)
- Agroforestry initiatives
- Conservation agriculture and extension support
- Fire monitoring and mitigation
- Exploration of Payment for Ecosystem Services model (based on precedent)
- Sustainable livelihoods – value chain development, alternative income opportunities
Indigenous Flora Species Revitalized through Conservation
With a dedicated focus on environmental stewardship, our efforts have led to the regeneration of 69 species of flora indigenous to the region. From resilient acacias to vibrant wildflowers, these plants play a crucial role in maintaining the delicate balance of Mara's ecosystems. Through sustainable practices and habitat restoration initiatives, we're witnessing the rejuvenation of these local species, fostering a healthier environment for both wildlife and communities
2,141,910 trees have been planted since 2011 by WeForest. The participating families and institutions continue to receive follow-up visits and support from our partner in the field, GRA
In March the new agroforestry staff held a capacity-building workshop for the nursery staff
and community members from the participating five villages. One farmer from each village was also trained as a lead farmer for the agroforestry scheme.
These lead farmers will ensure that each farmer’s agroforestry system is set up correctly, visiting their group members monthly to collect data on germination and mortality rates, as well as
providing direct support on pests and disease, soil
or water issues.
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The new phase of our Tanzania project with the Global Resource Alliance (GRA) will see the restoration of 1500 hectares of degraded forest in the Butiama Hills, in collaboration with five neighbouring communities.
Families will be involved in setting up agroforestry and woodlot schemes on their farms so that they can make a forest-friendly living, rather than farming or producing charcoal which harms the forest and is what they used to do in the past due to lack of alternatives.
The project began implementation in January 2023, and for the following six months most of the activities carried out were focused on preparing for and establishing these livelihood activities.
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Supporting Schools & Communities
The Power of Reforestation and Community Empowerment
Support the Butiama Hills Project to rejuvenate a crucial ecosystem and make a lasting impact on communities and biodiversity in Tanzania.
Your backing will enable us to build upon WeForests' ongoing work in Mara and transform the landscape.
Your contribution will assist us in
- Engaging with local communities
- Addressing their needs throughout the restoration process
- Formulating a comprehensive restoration plan for long-term guidance,
- Initiating early restoration activities like tree planting and invasive species removal
- Establishing supporting initiatives for the sustained well-being of local communities and the ecosystem.
Together, let's create a significant impact. Join One World today and contribute to the restoration of this vital ecosystem for future generations.