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Mali's disappearing trees

May 29, 2019

As people fell trees to get wood for cooking, Mali's trees are disappearing at rapid speed. A reforestation expert who has been dubbed 'the forest maker' is working with farmers to restore the country's woodlands.

A woman holding a bowl of charcoal. Black sacks behind her
Image: DW/Jürgen Schneider

Africa's underground forest

Project goal: Reforestation in Africa's dry zone

Implementation: Farmers are helping to regenerate degraded land

Project scope: So far the project has been introduced to 24 African countries and has restored 100 million hectares of land. 

Mali's capital Bamako is one of the fastest growing cities on earth. Around 2.5 million people live there and they all need a home and ways to cook their food. That's where business owners like Maimuna Traore step in. She sells charcoal — and it's flying off the shelves. The wood for the charcoal used to be sourced from near the city, now it comes from much further away. The trees around Bamako are disappearing fast.

Tony Rinaudo, a reforestation expert and winner of The Right Livelihood Award — commonly known as the alternative Nobel Prize — has noticed the vanishing trees too. The "forest maker," as he's been dubbed, is trying to regenerate Mali's forests with the help of farmers using a method he's established together with aid organization World Vision in other African countries, including Ghana.

A film by Jürgen Schneider