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April 27, 2021

Plant-For-Ghana: How to save the last man from dying

It is often said “When the last tree dies, the last man dies.”

Only few people seem to really appreciate the import of this all-important statement at length. But the veracity of the science underpinning it is too glaring to ignore, too frightening to rest on our oars and too suicidal to sit aloof. The remedy? The face of the earth needs more trees – maintain the existing ones and plant more. Stop talking. Start planting.

Trees for climate justice – Our aim and motivation

Together with my team, forming Plant-for-Ghana, have set out to resist the dying of the last man by planting and managing 10,000,000 trees in the next decades in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone of Ghana. This will obviously reduce carbon dioxide and increase oxygen in the atmosphere and ultimately enhance quality of life in the face of climate change threats – something that lies at the heart of this project.

Beyond the environmental protection and climate action advantage, I’m also by this project looking at creating economic and educational opportunities for the people in the zone most of whom live below the poverty line. I’m convinced that the opportunities created by this project will result in job creation for indigenes and also arouse research interests in students of our partnering universities. Through it all I shall maintain a strong advocacy for peace, justice and strong institutions – for every tree we plant will symbolize climate justice. By far, what started off as a self-initiative of tree planting and the later involvement of family and friends is gradually catching up with schools and communities. I must say the project has been infectious, thus far, and I’m looking forward to a time when a substantial number of the global population see it a duty to plant at least one tree per year or donate a tree to Plant-for-Ghana to plant on their behalf.

Becoming part of a global movement

One of the high moments of this project was finding a partner in the Mexico-based Yucatán Reforestation by Plant-for-the-Planet Mexico and Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation. That onerous partnership gave me the impetus to push on with the project as part of the Trillion Tree Campaign. Through our collective effort led by Plant-for-the-Planet Ghana we are confident to mobilize, plant, and manage 10,000,000 of these trees in Ghana, especially in the Savannah Ecological Zone and by this contribute to absorb carbon emissions and also create ecosystems and green jobs.

How we get started – Growing seedlings for the first trees

For the first phase of the planting which is expected to start in July 2021, we intend to reforest an area of 1000 hectares of land situated at Banpewa in the Savannah Region of Ghana – negotiations and acquisition of land is completed. A one-hectare land has been secured for the establishment of a nursery which is currently raising 25,000 of the following species of trees and quantities in the figure (1) below to be planted in July:

MahoganyKyaya Ivorensis4,100
CassiaSenna Siamea4,100
CashewAnacardium Occidentale6,000
TeakTectona Grand 9,500
African locustParkia Biglobosa1,300
Fig 1: Species of seeds and corresponding quantities

A variety of variables including proximity to the planting site, proximity to a major road, source of water, topography and others were the key considerations in the siting of the nursery. Eventually, it was sited near the Black Volta River, a location which satisfies most of the variables.

Planting of the 25,000 seedlings currently at the nursery is scheduled to commence from July onwards to take advantage of the rainy season. This will continue until the end of the rainy season in November.

To get all this planned and started, I am grateful to have, as Executive Director, the fantastic support of a great team Ibrahim Wasiu Hamid (Assistant Executive Director), Abdul Rashid Tahiru (Secretary), Murtala Mohammed (Finance Director), Abdul Halim Adam Jaraah (Public Relations Coordinator) Nurideen Ibrahim (Volunteer Coordinator), Mikdad Adam (Project Coordinator) Iddrisu Faisal Ibrahim (Research and Outreach Coordinator), Samuel Ameyaw (Nursery Expert), Ayishatu Mohammed (Administration) and the people on whose labour we depended to clear the land and build the nursery structure and raise the seedlings. Benevolent individuals and organisations across the globe who have donated in cash and in kind to support this worthy cause also deserve a special mention.

Team Plant-for-Ghana

The coming years are promising and I look forward to more support to increase, possibly quadruple the number of trees we will be planting this year. More importantly, the near future should see a paradigm shift in the orientation of people to begin to appreciate issues of climate change crisis well enough to support the project.

In executing our agenda, I encourage more action than talk, hence the slogan “Stop talking, Start planting” – a clarion call to action on a matter that matters to all lives across the globe.

Donate a tree to save the last man’s breath and save the catastrophe. Kindly log onto https://www1.plant-for-the-planet.org/plant-for-ghana to donate.

Author: Mohammed Rabiu Dannakabu | Executive Director | Plant-for-the-Planet Ghana