Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009
Lampeter's Kenyan tropical forest

Tropical forest in Kenya
More than 5,000 trees have been planted

The Community Carbon Link (CCL) is a unique partnership that connects the Lampeter area with the town of Bore (pronounced Boray) in Eastern Kenya, through the medium of carbon, says Ru Hartwell, who runs the project.

Established in 2008, with help from the Welsh Assembly Government Gold Star Communities Scheme, CCL encourages individuals, schools and businesses in the UK to sponsor tree planting in Kenya.

To date more than 5,750 trees have been planted and 20 local businesses have committed to giving regular support.

The idea behind the link is simple.

Lampeter is now the first town in Wales and possibly in the world to be taking responsibility as a community for its share in creating climate change and slowing tropical deforestation.
Ru Hartwell

It is about recognising that here in Wales we have a very large per capita carbon footprint and that we have a responsibility to try and reduce the damage that we are causing to the atmosphere.

People in Kenya, on the other hand, produce negligible amounts of carbon dioxide and the irony is that they, like many other sub-Saharan communities, are bearing the brunt of a climatic catastrophe that they have had no hand in creating.

It is the Earth's tropical forests that basically keep our planet cool. Without them, we are lost.

They function like an enormous air conditioning system, regulating the temperature, distributing billions of tonnes of water for our crops and harbouring our most diverse and valuable ecosystems.

The point of the CCL is to allow these two communities to work together to protect this critically important natural resource.

Distributing carbon-hungry cashew trees at Bore 2009
Once planted, the trees are tagged with a unique reference number

Cashew trees are mainly planted as part of the scheme as these grow and fix carbon very rapidly and can yield a harvest of high-protein nuts in as little as four years.

This valuable cash crop then gives the community an alternative income to that of cutting down their existing forest to make charcoal.

Partnership

Trees can be sponsored over the web by anyone in mid Wales for £2.50 each with all the cash going directly out to the farmers of Bore.

Once planted, the trees are tagged with a unique reference number and then the name of the farmer who has the trees is relayed back to the sponsor.

Now, in a major new development of the partnership, two local businesses and the community interest company, Primate Handshake.Org, based at Lampeter University, have put up the funds to secure a 10 acre plot of Kenyan forest on behalf of the whole community here.

Any resident or business in the area can now make their own direct contribution by sponsoring 20 square metres of 'Lampeter's Tropical Forest in Bore' for a pound.

With this 'Community Carbon Forest Reserve', Lampeter is now the first town in Wales and possibly in the world to be taking responsibility as a community for its share in creating climate change and slowing tropical deforestation.

The CCL is administered by Treeflights, the Ceredigion-based non-profit social enterprise that specialises in planting trees to absorb carbon and supports grassroots afforestation projects in Wales, Peru, Sumatra and Spain as well as Kenya.




SEE ALSO
Community in carbon neutral bid
08 Jan 08 |  Mid Wales
Plantings to cut carbon footprint
05 Oct 07 |  Suffolk
Time to act on carbon markets
15 Apr 09 |  Science & Environment


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