Rehabilitating a Forest Ecosystem to Reduce Emissions

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In a remote corner of the Ukraine, a community located near the Rivne National Protected Area initiated a project with youth participation, to rehabilitate the degraded forest ecosystem surrounding the Rivne region, and protect the habitat of endangered species listed in the Ukrainian Red Book.

Local scientists and experts developed a methodology of species composition and landscaping to rehabilitate the endangered forest ecosystem comprising species such as Querceto roboris, Pinetum sylvestris, and Juniperoso communis hylocomiosum. With support of local activists, the project team planted over 1,230 trees, including 15 Red Book species in 40 natural habitats covering a territory of three hectares of degraded forests.

Joining the worldwide campaign “The Green Wave”, a Children’s Ecological Camp was launched to celebrate the International Day of Biodiversity in which 60 school children from four local schools participated. Students planted rare and endangered species and learned about the global challenges of biodiversity protection and climate change though environmental films, eco-games and quizzes. The three winners of the eco-quiz received honorary diplomas and valuable gifts. Local experts conducted master-classes, environmental lessons and an excursion to conservation areas, which were undertaken through the joint efforts of the Small Grants Programme and the Ostky forestry department.

Highlights

  • Over 1,230 trees planted
  • 620 schoolchildren and more than 800 people took part in the project activities
  • Over 3 tonnes of CO2 per year were reduced due to in-situ conservation areas

Three local schools transitioned to “green classrooms” by installing energy-saving equipment, conducting ecological lessons, and developing ecological libraries including films, books and a list of useful on-line sources. An official website (www.oberig-project. org.ua) was created to encourage youth to build a social network of environmental-ly-conscious people at the regional level. In addition, the project also established the All-Ukrainian Environmental Forum “Children for Environment: The future We Want!” where children are able to reflect on their actions and explore exciting new discoveries, ideas, and experiences.

The project has already produced tangible global environmental benefits and improved the lives of the local people. The in-situ conservation areas lead to a reduction of over 3 tonnes of CO2 per year while at the same time offering an excellent opportunity for practical ecological education. “Henceforth each spring and autumn children will plant trees, get new useful knowledge, enjoy environment-friendly activities while expanding conservation areas”, said Ostky’s school principal Ms. Valentyna Gryshkovets. The project has become a demonstration site, attracting the attention of many nearby communities.

In total, 620 schoolchildren enjoyed new educational opportunities and more than 800 people became involved in project activities. The local community established new community-based organizations (CBOs) and partnerships with local civil society organizations (CSOs). The project team also launched the crowd-sourcing initiative “Plant a tree!” to mobilize additional financial sources for tree-planting activities.