A not-for-profit organisation focused on combatting land degradation and deforestation on Seychelles’ Praslin Island has ventured into agroforestry. Terrestrial Restoration Action Society Seychelles (TRASS) recently opened a second nursery with a capacity of twelve thousand local and rare fruits.
Marc Jean-Baptiste, a member of TRASS, told SNA that the use of local fruits in the organisation’s restoration work is being done under the Ridge to Reef (R2R) project, which is a $31 million project co-financed by Seychelles’ government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and civil societies.
“We wanted to integrate agroforestry in our restoration works as in addition to planting new trees, under endemic, natives or medicinal, we wanted to plant fruit trees which will add to efforts to propagate local food and contribute to national food security,” explained Jean-Baptiste.
Jean-Baptiste added that TRASS’ priority is to reforest land on Praslin, degraded mainly by forest fires. “These trees do not only help to stop degradation and erosion through their roots that trap soil, but their canopies help with soil water retention, maintaining water for freshwater sources and catchments.”
He said that this will also assist Praslin with its potable water sources, which are under a lot of pressure, especially during drought periods.
Fourteen years after it was launched, TRASS has a solid group of volunteers who will assist with the planting of these fruit trees at the different locations it has identified. Different organisations will also be targeted to help with the propagation of these plants, which include breadfruit, jackfruits, avocadoes, golden apples, and nutmeg, and also to very rare ones that only older generations may know.
The opening of the second nursery and the launching of the second phase of restoration work is being done under the Ridge to Reef project (R2R) approach that has an integrated approach to improved management and conservation of upland forest and agricultural ecosystems as well as coastal and marine ecosystems in the Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
This approach is expected to produce global benefits in terms of the conservation of globally significant biodiversity and the effective management of large marine ecosystems and to arrest and reverse ecosystem degradation.
TRASS is the only environmental non-profit organisation committed to the rehabilitation of degraded forests in Seychelles. Over the past decades, several bushfires have occurred on Praslin, causing the loss of habitats and biodiversity.