The Rainforest Alliance (RA) works with rural communities in over 60 countries to conserve forests and support sustainable livelihoods. Our donation will allow RA to expand their reforestation program in Ghana by making farmers the lead partners in the reforestation and management of their lands.
Why They're Climate Smart
Climate change disproportionately affects the world's poorest people — especially those in rural farm communities. This is notably true in Ghana, where cocoa is a vital cash crop that provides livelihoods to over a million households. However, current harvesting practices are not sustainable. Farmers are now responsible for half of all the deforestation in Ghana's high forest zone, as they cut down native shade trees to make room for more cocoa plants. This creates an unbalanced ecosystem, more erosion during heavy rains, and lower yields.
With our support, RA will expand its work to conserve Ghana's cocoa forest landscape while sustaining the agricultural livelihoods of local farmers. The project will provide farmers with a sustainable income stream by making them accountable to local Management Boards — who are responsible for managing the landscape, restoring the deforested areas, and conserving biodiversity. This way, farmers will be rewarded for the proper management of their shade trees (the government owns the trees now), and the pressure to expand will be eliminated.
The reforested and properly managed shade trees will then act as a carbon sink, improve soil conditions, restore tree cover and shade, create a suitable habitat for wildlife, protect biodiversity, and improve the cocoa yield — resulting in increased resilience, income, and food security for the smallholder farmers.
You can learn about and support the Rainforest Alliance by donating.