Collaborating beyond borders

One advantage of working in many countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America is that our teams can share best practices and creative solutions to unusual problems, helping raise our productivity across the organization. One example of that involved crabs.

Since we began planting and protecting trees in 2005, wildfires and extreme weather have occurred frequently in the countries in which we work, and we have learned how to respond. The problem of crabs was more unusual.

Fiddler and Grapsoid crabs native to Mozambique mainly eat leaves and decaying material, making deforested mangrove sites an all-you-can-eat feast for them. Our Mozambique team began planting propagules to restore mangroves sites, but soon noticed the crabs had been chewing on the propagules, killing the seeds before they could grow. We had to find a solution to keep the propagules safe while not causing harm to the crabs.

As the Mozambique team was searching for a solution, our team in Brazil had found a creative way to shelter their own propagules from crabs. By sticking an empty plastic bottle in the ground over the newly planted propagule, they could ensure the propagule would take root without the crabs getting to it. By using empty bottles, our teams not only found a creative solution to an unusual problem, they are also recycling the bottles and properly disposing of them once they’re no longer needed.

Our team in Mozambique was intrigued by the Brazil team’s method. When they tried it out for themselves, the crabs could no longer eat the propagules, allowing the seeds to grow into healthy mangroves. Despite unconventional bumps in the road such as crabs eating propagules, our teams continue to share creative solutions with each other, further building relationships across our project nations and significantly increasing the likelihood of tree survivability.

How you can help plant trees and save lives