Meet Our New Partner in Uganda: Environmental Defenders

December 8, 2020

Environmental Defenders is a nonprofit conservation organization in Uganda’s Lake Albert region. It’s long been a local sustainability leader in regenerative agroforestry, water resource protection, and ecosystem restoration.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that Terraformation will partner with Environmental Defenders in restoring 450 acres of native savannah and dry grassland ecosystems.

Terraformation will provide Environmental Defenders with an off-grid, solar-powered seed bank and nursery to help scale up the organization’s restoration work. We’ll also help ED produce and sell verified carbon credits to generate ongoing revenue. Our partnership will help ED establish a regional native seed hub and serve as a center of excellence to support neighboring restoration efforts.

Protecting a biodiversity hotspot

The Lake Albert region is a unique ecological zone with a rich array of biodiversity, from fungi to over 42 bird species.

Unfortunately, oil and gas exploration, large-scale agribusiness, and illegal logging have destroyed wildlife habitat and reduced indigenous tree cover.

ED has a track record of successful restoration in the region to reverse habitat and species loss. Over the last three years, it has sustainably restored 75 acres of dry forest and supplied community partners with seedlings to plant an additional 100 acres. The new restoration projects will build on this history of success, helping to regreen 450 additional acres by 2023.

Expanding agroforestry

In 2019, Environmental Defenders established two native tree nurseries to supply nearby farms and agroforestry businesses with tropical fruit trees, including avocado, grapefruit, guava, and jackfruit. But the existing nursery capacity can’t keep up with growing seedling demand.

Though the region has no electrical grid, it receives 8 to 11 hours of sunlight most days, making it an ideal spot for Terraformation’s unique solar-powered seed bank and nursery equipment. The new facilities will help ED meet even more seedling requests and fulfill the organization's own dry forest restoration goals.

Maintaining local knowledge

Environmental Defenders' commitment to preserving native plants in the area also helps preserve local knowledge. Communities throughout the Lake Albert region hold specialized medical expertise based on endemic herbs, and employ regionally adapted building techniques using indigenous grasses. But recent large-scale commercial agriculture has reduced native species cover, making it difficult for communities to use their traditional knowledge.

In addition to tree seedlings, ED will also propagate understory herbs and grasses critical to these local practices.

Environmental Defenders aims to develop a conservation model that communities throughout the region can replicate. We’re proud to partner with this incredible organization in its vital work for the planet.

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