Stop the Threat to the Boabob Tree!

Brought to you by Jessica Gallegos

Baobob Tree Information

The Baobab tree goes by many names. One of them refers to it as is "The Tree of Life" . It is capable of providing shelter, food and water for the animal and human inhabitants of the African savannah regions.

The cork-like bark is fire resistant and is used for cloth and rope. The leaves are used for condiments and medicines. The fruit, called "monkey bread", is rich in vitamin C and is eaten. The tree is capable of storing hundreds of litres of water, which is tapped in dry periods.

Mature trees are frequently hollow, providing living space for numerous animals and humans alike. Trees are even used as bars, barns and more. The Baobab also features as the Tree of Life in Disney's "Lion King", and is the centrepiece in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Threats

Threatened By The Poor

Zimbabwe`s distinctive baobab tree is under threat from deforestation in Manicaland as poverty has forced villagers to de-bark the trees as a means of survival. The villager's have been forced to use the tree as a source of income by exploiting its natural uses.

In an article from www.thezimbabwean.co.uk Maxwell Nyashanu (26) is quoted saying

“We have no choice but to de-bark the baobab trees to fend for our families. We have seen these trees growing for years but we said we should take advantage of our natural resources to eke a living because there are no jobs for us. Our children need proper education and food,”

He earns around $250 a month from selling the mats to tourists. Nyashanu said he was aware that he was causing environmental degradation as most trees he had de-barked were dying of infection and loss of water. He is sad that he has to go to such lengths to provide for his family as to endanger the trees that he has grown up around, but that he has no choice as do others in the community.

The fruit of the grand tree has also been part of its downfall. Supply and demand has made it to where there isn't enough seeds being supplied to feed the native elephants and to please merchants demands for more business.