How We Work
8848 Trees partners with Community Forest User Groups in Nepal to operate tree-planting projects. The partnership entails our organization providing funds to community forest user groups who in turn execute the project under our leadership, guidance, and monitoring.
A project involves all activities associated with one community forest, its nursery, and planting site. The length of a project varies from 2-4 years, depending on the size of the community forest. Consequently, multiple projects may operate simultaneously. Execution of a project involves the following stages.
1. Site Selection
Candidate community forest and the corresponding user group are identified and selected with help from District Forest Office and FECOFUN. To help achieve our objective, the following selection criteria are implemented:
Community forest area is greater than 50 hectares.
A substantial amount of forest area is barren or without green cover.
The beneficiary community is more than 100 households.
2. Partnership Formation
The user group associated with the community forest is contacted to assess its willingness to engage with our organization. Once the user group is sufficiently engaged in the potential of the project and can commit sufficient land and labor, the local District Forest Office is consulted for technical input. Consultation includes site evaluation (soil, water, and climate), tree selection (from suitable native species), and input concerning the establishment of a nursery. The partnership is then drawn with the user group entailing all functional relationships.
Provides field report
Forest User Group
Team Leader - Nepal
3. Workforce Setup
The user group selects a team of workers, which includes a project/nursery manager and nursery employees. This team is recruited from within the community represented by the user group. The nursery employees report to the manager who then reports to 8848 Tress's Team Leader in Nepal. All field activities, including nursery management and tree-planting, are coordinated and managed by this team under the leadership of the project/nursery manager.
Pay-scale and work-schedule for the team are established in coordination with the user group. The team is paid at all stages of the project, including nursery work, clearing sites before planting, planting trees, weeding planted sites, etc.
4. Nursery Setup
Community forest land is used for setting up a make-shift community nursery. The nursery may be as rudimentary as an outdoor fenced area covered with a tarp. Essential tools and equipment are purchased by the team. Nursery setup begins around January/February of the plantation year.
5. Seed to Seedling Growth
The team grows seedlings from seeds of native species. Seeds may be either purchased from the government and local seed banks or collected from nearby forests. The team sows them in individual bags in the nursery around February/March and tends them for 5-6 months until they develop into stable seedlings ready for plantation.
Once the site has been chosen for planting, the team clears the ground of debris, weeds, etc., and readies the site for planting. This usually takes place for a month around May/June - a month before the start of monsoon season.
Saplings are then transferred to the planting sites just before the monsoon season and planted around June/July. Planting is a communal effort over few weeks. The usually accepted practice of planting 1 tree per 2-meter distance is used as a general guide.
The team protects and guards the newly planted saplings for 2 additional years. This includes weeding out and clearing the planted area 2-3 times per year. The young trees are also guarded against grazing cattle, while they establish themselves.
This stage demands the most amount of time and resources. Majority of tree-planting initiatives around the world focus only on front-end planting. With very little attention to the back-end protection, the sapling survival rate falls short of expectation.
With our protection measures, we expect a sapling survival rate upward of 80%.
We believe that working directly with the beneficiaries lowers our overhead cost, reduces waste, and maximizes benefit. Our hands-on partnership approach at the grass-roots, community-level differentiates us in 2 distinct areas from other organizations that support similar initiatives in Nepal.
1. Employment Oriented
Our organization’s goal is to plant trees and to create employment opportunities. This differs from most other organizations where the objective is tree-planting alone. More than 85% of our field expenses contribute directly towards wages of workers at the following stages:
1. Running plant nurseries
2. Preparing sites for plantation
3. Planting trees
4. Protecting trees
Consequently, we are able to focus on the protection of planted saplings. This ensures a higher survival rate of planted saplings.
2. Focused Area
Our organization focuses on tree-planting initiatives in Nepal only, mostly in rural communities. A single target area, combined with a decentralized approach of direct interaction with the beneficiaries means less bureaucratic red tapes, more efficient execution, and less economic waste. In-depth knowledge of government regulations, the inner working of beneficiaries, and other functional characteristics of the target zone provide us relative ease of entry and operational maneuverability.