The TIST agroforestry project in Kenya combines agroforestry and sustainable development to empower subsistence farmers with the technical know-how to protect their lands from the impacts of climate change. Farmers own their lands and receive carbon revenue by planting native trees, which also protect them from extreme weather events and improve the local biodiversity of the region.
Since its inception in late 1999, TIST has created a name for itself as a committed proponent for biodiversity conservation while tackling issues of rural empowerment and sustainable development. TIST Kenya has been certified by Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards attesting to the credibility of their actions.
Great for Earth
Trees are our strongest natural defense against climate change as storehouses of carbon. Historical degradation of forest for food and farmland has weakened biodiversity and made the region vulnerable to extreme climate events like droughts and floods. This will be exacerbated by climate change. By training farmers to plant trees on and around their farms, TIST is helping to remove carbon from the atmosphere and increase resilience to extreme weather.
The increased forest cover is also improving the local biodiversity. Trees create natural corridors and buffer zones, making it easier for the native fauna to move across the landscape. The project specifically focuses on improving local biodiversity by planting native tree species, such as the endangered Meru Oak trees.
Positive for People
The project has an innovative, community-driven approach which ensures local farmers are the architects, managers and beneficiaries of the project on the ground. The farmers receive direct payments from carbon finance, and are supported by TIST through leadership and training opportunities.
Farmers can attend training programs for climate-resilient agriculture skills like conservation farming and building tree nurseries, and they have formed a network over local, regional and national scales, supported by TIST’s communications. By implementing better farming practices, farmers are supported over the long-term through improved and more sustainable crop yields.
Training is also offered in other areas of life such as building fuel-efficient stoves and malaria and HIV/AIDS prevention, which alongside the sustainable income, have helped TIST’s vision in combating HIV/AIDS related issues. Importantly, the project has created income opportunities for over women farmers thus helping to reduce gender inequality.