Tanzania’s natural-growth forests are in trouble. So much so that Tanzania could lose it’s entire forest cover in under a century if more is not done to reduce the current rate of deforestation – which is estimated at around 1 million acres each year and growing.
Besides the loss of habitat for so many of Tanzania’s amazing flora and fauna and other land degradation issues caused by this deforestation, Mt Kilimanjaro itself is severely affected by this practise. For thousands of years, the Serengeti winds would sweep over the cool and humid forest air, carrying this moisture to the top of the mountain and replenishing the glaciers and snows on the summit. The deforestation on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro has contributed to the melting of it’s glaciers, as the hot and dry East African Trade Winds now stay dry and warm accelerating the demise of the snowcaps as this airflow reaches the summit. These dry winds also no longer replenish the glaciers, therefore aiding in the demise of these magnificent mountains of ice.
The current glaciers of Kilimanjaro, made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Snows Of Kilimanjaro” in 1936 (and movie released in 1952), are almost 12,000 years old. Hemingway once described the ice fields as “wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun”. In the last century, these beautiful glaciers have lost 82 percent of their ice since 1912—the year their full extent was first measured.
According to the UN, Tanzania ’s population is growing by over 2% per year. This has led to an increasingly high rate of deforestation due to their reliance on charcoal as a cheap energy source for most households in towns and rural areas respectively. In addition to this, farmers are burning down and clearing forests to make ways for bigger crops to cater for this growth.
By reversing deforestation, Plant With Purpose helps the poor to restore productivity to their land to create economic opportunity out of environmental restoration. Since 1984 they have helped thousands of people in nearly 250 villages around the world to lift themselves out of poverty and reinvest in their future.