Reforestation areas are protected areas, and they are protected by the village communities against animal predation and deforestation. The forests can therefore grow magnificently and develop their benefits.
The planted seedlings and the still young forests have to be protected so that they can develop themselves. Cows, goats or sheep must be prevented from entering the forests, eating the seedlings as well as the growing grass and trampling down the structures. However, not only the animals have to be kept away, but also the people who would like to cut growing trees and shrubs for firewood and fences.
The village communities are responsible for forest protection and have committed themselves to its protection in the afforestation agreements. The protected areas can then only be established if the concerned farmers also agree to this. In specific terms, the protection includes the following two aspects:
The protection made by guardians is often related to the exploitation of the forest and delegated to a group of landless youth. This exploitation implies, for example, cutting the grass between the young plants. This grass is used to feed animals or is sold to cover the roof of traditional houses. Furthermore, this youth organization keeps bees for honey production.
Generally, reforestation areas are protected for 5 years. After that, a protection is no longer necessary, as the farmers, who benefit from the forests, take care of the forest for their own interest.
The protection of the forests is organized by the village communities themselves. We partly finance salaries and equipment, and we supported the youth group through projects like “for more water” (irrigation of fruit trees) or “for a healthy nutrition” (honey production). In rare cases, for example in particularly hilly, stony or complicated projects, we can also pay a part of the guardian’s wage, essentially in order to closely accompany the project and learn a lot about subsequent projects.