Despite growing interest in the potential of forests and other ecosystems to help address global warming, conservation organizations are still struggling to find the money to fund these natural solutions to climate change. In a bid to ease these efforts, Apple has recently partnered up with Conservation International to help restore degraded African grasslands.
The tech company’s latest environmental effort takes place in Kenya’s Chyulu Hills – a vast swath of grasslands that’s home to large elephant populations and other iconic wildlife. The grasslands at the foot of the hills, along with similar rangelands across Africa, have the potential to capture huge amounts of CO2. But over time, the landscape has become degraded through unsustainable land use and unpredictable weather, leaving local herders without food for livestock and with little for themselves as well.
Conservation International will use funds from Apple to focus on social interventions to improve the area rather than planting grass and trees. As an example, the efforts may help local herders shift to rotational grazing, allowing the land to recover on its own.
Implemented on rangelands across Africa, this type of restoration could yield huge climate benefits. Restoring degraded land could lead to 4 metric tons of CO2 removal per hectare. With approximately 900 million hectares of degraded rangelands across Africa, such interventions could help remove up to 3.6 billion metric tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year – that’s nearly the equivalent of the EU’s annual emissions.