Nepal is a country that was once widely covered by forests and rich in biodiversity, but today less than 30% of its forests remain. One of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, many rural communities directly depend on their natural environment for food, shelter, and income. When their environment is damaged or destroyed, the poor are the first to feel the negative effects and without financial resources or the knowledge to manage vulnerable resources in a sustainable way, they often further degrade their lands in order to survive. In this way many have become trapped in a cycle of ever increasing environmental degradation and poverty.
In 2015 Eden Reforestation Projects had the opportunity to start addressing the problems of environmental degradation and poverty by opening two nurseries and planting 400,000 seedlings in the first year. Forest growth has been rapid with some of those saplings now reaching 20-30 feet. Below the canopy grass and other wild plants have naturally returned, along with bugs and birds and gradually an entire ecosystem. As well as absorbing and storing co2, this restores the quality of the soil, helps halt the dropping water tables and defends against flooding.
In Nepal Eden Projects has also focused on female empowerment, employing and training local women and particularly single mothers, who would normally have little or no access to an income. This is turn helps decrease a reliance on child labour as families can afford to send their children to school.