What is an
ecosystem?

An ecosystem are all plants and animals together in a specific area together with their physical surrounding, such as the sunlight, the soil, the water and the air.

Ecosystems can be located on the main land, in the water or in the ocean and differ in size. Healthy ecosystems are always in balance, meaning the populations of animals and plants present in the ecosystem are remain more or less the same. The higher the number of different animals and plants within an ecosystem, the more stable the ecosystem is. This is also called the biodiversity of the ecosystem. Humans are largely depending on ecosystems. We take our food from nature, it helps to purify our water and the plants promote sequestration of carbon from the air.

Threats & Consequences

Picture by ©KIRSTENVANSANTEN

What is threatening the ecosystems in Africa?

Many ecosystems within Africa are under great pressure. High temperatures and a decline in rainfall, due to climate change, and overgrazing of green areas cause disbalance within ecosystems. Normally, an ecosystem can restore this balance itself. When an ecosystem is pushed beyond a specific point, it is possible that it is changed permanently. A green and healthy ecosystem can become a dry and arid area where only few plants can grow and many animals struggle to survive.

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What are the consequences?

The desertification of ecosystems causes a decline of the biodiversity. An ecosystem with a low biodiversity is more sensitive to forest fires and flooding. The drought also causes the inhibition of the growth of some crops, leading to food shortage for humans and animals. Additionally, the water availability will decline, making it harder to find drinking water. Desertification of ecosystems also cause a decline in carbon sequestration, ultimately leading to an enhancement of global warming and further degradation of healthy ecosystems.

How can we solve this?

We can do this with the help of regreening!

Vegetation promotes the sequestration of carbon, cooling of the soil, and stimulates the water cycle. Water evaporates out of the pores of plants and trees, increasing the humidity. The formation of clouds is stimulated and rainfall increases. The roots of vegetation help the water to infiltrate into the soil, enhancing the water availability within the soil, promoting the growth of more diverse plants. The biodiversity of plants and animals increases, enabling the ecosystem to restore in its original state.

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Picture by ©KIRSTENVANSANTEN

The decade of ecosystem restoration

To tackle the degradation of ecosystems worldwide, the UN declared the decade of ecosystem restoration at the beginning of March 2019. By restoring ecosystems on a large scale, the UN aims to counteract climate change, increase food security, decrease water shortage and boost the biodiversity.

Who is Justdiggit?

And how does Justdiggit help to fight CO₂ emissions and cool down the planet?

Justdiggit is a Dutch foundation with the goal to restore degraded ecosystems by developing, initiating and co-funding large-scale landscape restoration programs within Africa. Our regreening projects help to restore the water balance in the soil and bring back vegetation, which has a positive effect on the local and regional climate, increases water and food security and promotes biodiversity within the project areas. Within our projects we work together with local partners and communities. The communities involved directly benefit from our programs as we create a better living environment and increase economic development.Our unique approach is a media and communication-based strategy, involving all available communication and media on a local, regional, national and international level. With these sponsored media campaigns, we aim to amplify the effect of landscape restoration programs, thereby creating a landscape restoration movement, promoting regreening throughout Africa.

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The story of Justdiggit