The Impact of a Compost Heap

Habari Maalum Conserves Forest Soil Thanks to ECHO

Excerpt of an original story provided by Oliver Mhilu, Lily Albert, and Odemari Peter Mwenda

Compost pile constructed by Habari Maalum Staff

Compost pile constructed by Habari Maalum Staff

The Habari Maalum Tree Nursery (HMTN), outside of Arusha, Tanzania, provides over 200,000 tree seedlings per year to the surrounding villages. Until recently, HMTN has relied upon forest soil collected from the Olmotonyi Forest on the lower slopes of Mt. Meru to replenish their nursery.

Increasingly, there is opposition and expense to travel the 10km up into the forest to obtain this soil. While the nursery has permission to harvest this soil, the Forest Department frowns upon this activity, and it interferes with other farmers who are interplanting their farm crops under the early canopy of the plantation forest, a method called “Taungya.”

Since 2013, HMTN has decided against returning to the Olmotonyi Forest, and is now able to rely on compost heaps to provide the necessary nutrients for its trees.

“Habari Maalum is one of the beneficiaries of ECHO East Africa Impact Center’s mission....After the establishment of the Impact Center within our area, we learned the value of compost and that, instead of collecting forest soil from Olmotonyi Forest, we can prepare our own compost heaps using leaves that fall within our compound, which we used to burn before. This knowledge we are transferring to other community members so as to conserve the environment and add fertility to their soils.” - Japhet Tuwati