1 June 2021 | 4 minutes.

The team effort to restore the earth

Campers remove elephant grass from the hillsides at Camp Mundo Nuevo to prepare the landscape for more sustainable agroforestry practices which will provide better protection against soil erosion.

Photo: Ecosystem Restoration Camps


What started as a grassroots initiative has grown into a global effort to educate the masses on ecosystem restoration. With 37 active camps around the world, Ecosystem Restoration Camps has set its ambitions to bring together one million people by 2030 to restore degraded ecosystems in 100 camps around the world.
SPAIN. One of the very first campers at Altiplano in April 2017 preparing the first ever vegetable bed for campers to grow their own food. Here he is using a low impact hand tiller to prepare the ground for seed planting.
USA. Lauren Bond, co-steward of Hotlum Eco-Regeneration Camp, makes biochar on the slopes of Mount Shasta. Heavy fuel loads, soil depletion, and drought in California have led to a growing interest in biochar.
KENYA. Local community members demostrate their commitment to an ambitious project to plant a forest of almost 30,000 mangroves at Mombasa’s degraded Tudor Cree.
Brazil. Setting up native tree seedlings in a dome nursery. Sinal do Vale directly regenerates the ecosystem and acts as an educational center for sustainability.
Portugal. Volunteers from the Mama-Adama Awareness Centre restore the land in the Alentejo region of Portugal where old European cork oak trees have become infected with a fungus. Each volunteer plants a tree to help form a lifelong connection with the land and restoration project.
Morocco. Marking out contour lines for planting trees as part of an agroforestry system Camp Khalifah hopes to develop. Planting trees on contours slows down runoff water, reducing soil loss and surface erosion.
South Africa. Three volunteers exude joy after a day of planting hundreds of indigenous trees to restore a degraded landscape as part of Greenpop’s Eden Festival of Action. The festival brings people together in South Africa’s Garden Route area to plant trees, paint uplifting and educational wall murals, learn through practical sustainability workshops and reconnect with nature and each other. It’s a key event in Greenpop’s ‘treevolution’. Photo: Juliette Bisset
Brazil. Volunteers armed with tools make their way back to a site at Camp Desperto where they will restore the area around a natural water spring to improve its flow.
Guatemala. Trees being unloaded at La Guaria Coccoli, one of the villages in Guatemala where Camp Contour Lines Corp. Agro-reforestation is empowering locals to create new agroforests, replacing the old practice of slash and burn. These fruit trees will be planted on contours that blend into the surrounding tropical rainforest.
Australia. Volunteers at Camp Arcoora. The foundations of an intensive syntropic food and timber forest, creating mycelium networks to connect resources and advance growth. Photo: Paul Daley, A Lush Forest
Thailand. Campers plant vetiver grass at the banks of a newly-dug pond at Uthai Forest. Vetiver grass is commonly grown in Thailand for erosion control, bioremediation, and a source of living mulch. Photo: Aleithia Low
Colombia. Volunteers plant along the slopes of Sierra Nevada mountain range of Colombia while a member of one of the four local indigenous communities watches on.
Mexico. Volunteers at Camp Via Organica in Mexico plant agave plants, nopal (prickly pears) and ocotillos (large, semi-succulent desert shrubs) in the Jalpa Valley near San Miguel de Allende.
USA. Participants gathered from all over the world to join Camp Fire Restoration Project (Camp Paradise) in restoring Paradise, California, USA, after the devastating wildfire of 2018, which nearly destroyed the whole town. In this picture, the group is working at a local elementary school, revitalizing the space and planting trees. You can see the stumps of trees that were lost in the fire, are getting replaced by new life.
INDIA. Since 2018, local villagers on the agroforesty training program ran by Camp Khetee for marginalized women and youth have been implementing this way of farming in the Durdih village in Bihar.