On November 27th was a big day to distribute the amount of 27,000 trees that grew out of the nurseries. As the mobilization for trees distribution, different groups and associations such as churches, schools and villages were invited. The Complex School Anga/POPOF pupils played different games for the demonstration of the value of the trees. Many speeches were made by different local authorities, women sang for the trees.
Six villages of the community of Miti were provided with the trees. The species of these trees were: Grevillea robusta, Spathodea sp., Markhamia lutea, Eucalyptus sp. and Maesopsis sp.
These trees will contribute to the communities in two ways, (1) as a buffer zone between the communities and the protected area (2) as a way to mitigate the climate change. After seven years they will also be used for villagers to produce planks, charcoals, firewood and wood carving.
The habitat of the endemic subspecies of eastern lowland gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri) habitat lacks a buffer zone between itself and the surrounding seven different communities.
When I observed the long-term illegal exploitation of the gorilla habitat during my years of gorilla tracking through 1983-2003, I pledged to contribute to the involvement of the communities for the nature conservation.
The threats against the habitat are enormous but new approaches are arising among communities. People of all ages are involved in the tree planting. One main slogan stated by the villagers is “Cut one tree, plant ten”. Since 1997 the Pole Pole Foundation has got its tree-planting projects take root among the communities through its effort on the environmental education and the community conservation.
One and a half million trees have been planted in four different communities bordering the habitat of the tourism gorilla families, the gorilla groups that tourists can visit. These communities are Mudaka, Miti, Bugorhe and Irhambi Katana. All located in the eastern area of the highland sector of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
This year POPOF and PIC (Partners In Conservation) started a new tree nursey in the Miti community. Tree nurseries were followed up by the pupils at the Complex School Anga, POPOF agro-forestry secondary school.
Girls, boys and some adult women from the community are blessed with monthly bonus for working in the nurseries. Pupils and their teachers are also blessed with supplies and bonus for supervising the community people who worked in the nurseries for seven months.