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Cultivating Green Futures: A Journey with HAF's Tree Planting and Carbon Projects

byEssaid Meria
onDecember 18, 2023

I recently participated in a training program organized by the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) and the Acorn Foundation. This experience centered on tree planting and monitoring for carbon offset balance, positively impacting farmers and community members in rural Morocco.

Nurturing the Roots of Knowledge

Our training began at the HAF office in Marrakech, where 25 individuals gathered to practice effective data collection for the tree planting program. The day unfolded with a variety of practical lessons, setting the stage for a career of meticulous monitoring.

One key takeaway from day one was the emphasis on “ground truth” of data, crucial for trees exceeding 1.3 meters in height. We recorded vital data points like tree species, size, diameter at breast height, planting year, and pruning activities. We marked the trees we had already documented with chalk to prevent double counting.

For trees under 1.3 meters, we recorded different data points, including the number of similar trees, species, height, and planting year. Techniques for measuring various tree shapes were explored, emphasizing distinctions for standard trees, bent or forked trees, those with irregular diameters, and those on hills.

Setting up ground truth plots was a crucial aspect of our training. Placing corner sticks or flags at the center of a farmer’s plot and utilizing geotracing ensured accurate data collection.

Participant Interaction: A Valuable Exchange

This training session was not merely about acquiring knowledge; it served as a platform for participants to engage with each other and discuss various perspectives and local wisdom. The enthusiasm and commitment of all 25 participants was commendable. Exchanging ideas and experiences enriched our understanding of the project’s challenges and opportunities.

Applying Knowledge in the Field

On the second day, we translated the theoretical knowledge gained into practical application for the carbon offset project. Our destination was Akrich village in the Tameslouht municipality in the Marrakech region.

The day began with understanding and determining the points of a triangle, a crucial foundation for our fieldwork. Utilizing applications like Compass and SurveyCTO, we entered data to accurately define land plots.

Land division and geographical coordinates played a significant role in ensuring systematic data collection, enhancing the effectiveness of the carbon offset program. Visiting the Achbarou Women’s Cooperative deepened our understanding of their integral role in the community.

Our training concluded with a visit to the Akrich tree nursery and learning about the cultivated tree types and the nursery’s planting schedule.

Two Weeks of Intensive Field Training and Certification

The training continued for an intensive two-week session. Throughout this period, we honed our skills, conducted extensive fieldwork, and collaborated to ensure the success of the program. Ultimately, all 25 participants received certificates of success, celebrating our shared commitment and dedication to the sustainable development mission.

A Step Towards Success

These two weeks of training made significant strides towards the success of the tree planting and carbon offset program. The knowledge and skills acquired will empower us to contribute to these initiatives.


Day Two of training led by the Akvo Foundation and HAF; Akrich Village, Tamslouhte municipality, Marrakech; Photo by HAF, 2023