Desert Tree is a Swiss Non-Profit organization, founded in 2014 to increase awareness and to act locally on the global issues of deforestation and desertification. This is done by with working closely with local communities, an important factor for ensuring a sustainable protection of the environment. So far, projects have been developed in 10 countries on different continents, starting small and growing as the local communities increase their experience and involvement.
Desert Tree’s approach combines a social business model with community projects:
- To help financing the projects, indoor plants are grown and sold in Switzerland. For each plant sold, an indigenous tree is planted in one of the projects and a partnership begins. The new owner becomes responsible for its plant and is part of a concrete effort to improve the larger issues, whereas Desert Tree cares for the corresponding tree out in the big world.
- In each project, Desert Tree works with the local inhabitants and in some cases local partner NGOs. Desert Tree supplies the plants while the local people assist with the planting ant protection of the trees while they grow.
To increase the survival chances and preserve the local ecosystem, only suitable indigenous species or older varieties are planted. In addition, to create an additional benefit and connection between people and trees, the choice of species might include plants that support local families with additional food or income (like fruit or nut trees), or have a particular use (like shade trees in a village playground). In parallel, efforts are made to protect and grow bee populations, an important pollinator species. The monitoring is done on a regular basis by the team or through the local partners.