Forests as the earth’s life support systems play a fundamental role in the planet’s water cycle and regulation of temperatures. Specifically, they are able to intercept, hold and evaporate a larger quantity of water, in comparison to other types of landscapes, as well as filter and improve water quality. They act as a sponge, saving an enormous quantity of water in the trees, but also in the soil and in decomposing organic matter. The trees and the soil release water slowly, with trees transpiring and the soil feeding into rivers, through underground springs.Decades of deforestation, monocrops and extractive industries have had detrimental effects leading to extreme drought, flooding, erosion and fires, and directly affecting the diverse ecosystems on our planet. Restoring and regenerating forests are key to re-activating our planet’s water cycles. We not only need to conserve and restore our native forest ecosystems, but we also need to transform current food production industries towards localized regenerative agroforestry systems.The International Analog Forestry Network promotes Analog Forestry (AF), a methodology for ecological restoration that focuses on increasing biodiversity by imitating the structure and functions of natural forest systems to create economically productive and environmentally mature analogs of those forests. Through a global network of 69 trainers across 20 countries, IAFN supports communities interested in developing resilient and regenerative forest gardens with a high diversity of species including food, medicinal plants and non-timber forest products.To commemorate International Women’s Day and World Water Day, the International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN) will be joining the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) 2023 We Women Are Water Campaign. Since 2016, IAFN has been a partner organization of GAGGA, providing in-depth AF trainings to women AF Promoters, with accredited trainers accompanying them while they implement AF designs on their plots. Where possible, IAFN also provides small seed funding for plantings and tools, to support in the development of these plots as demonstration sites in their communities. The Promoters, 45 in total, live in Bolivia, Cameroon, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uganda and Zimbabwe.The 2023 GAGGA We Women Are Water Campaign will be running from March 15-24, highlighting the crucial role that women play in the protection and sustainable use of water-related ecosystems as the basis of resilient livelihoods and to address climate change. As part of the campaign, at IAFN we want to share the crucial work women AF promoters are leading in their communities, particularly in territories that have been severely affected by water scarcity and contamination. Recognizing the key role of forests for water regeneration and conservation from knowledge and experience passed down through ancestral practices, they are now using AF as a tool to restore their ecosystems, as well as provide social and economic gains for themselves, their families and their communities.Women promoters are not only planting water. They are also sustaining localised food systems, bringing nourishment to their families and communities, saving native seeds and recovering ancestral practices. As a global community facing the climate and socio-ecological crisis, it is necessary to ensure that we learn from women, particularly those from indigenous and afrodescendant communities, leading diverse practices for the restoration and regeneration of our ecosystems.Over the course of the week of March 20th we will be highlighting women AF promoters from Guatemala, India, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about how women are planting water and re-activating the earth’s water cycles. We also invite you to join the 2023 GAGGA #WeWomenAreWater Campaign, kicking off on March 15.
Water Stories, “The Full Water Cycle”. Available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MIZeKtMZNUIAFN acknowledges and respects the diversity of gender identities and works with women, girls, and non-binary people.ViceVersa (2020) “What do you smell? Life!”. Available at:https://gaggaalliance.org/vice-versa-what-do-you-smell-life