Emerging from its turbulent history, East Timor, an island north of Australia, is one of the world’s youngest independent nations. While the country rejoices in its newfound freedom, it also faces serious environmental challenges.
The Haburas Foundation, established by a group of East Timorese students, is dedicated to reforesting degraded areas. One area in urgent need of rehabilitation includes the coastal hills of Fatucama, four miles from East Timor’s capital of Dili. Serious erosion is threatening the hills, which are an ancient sacred site of the East Timorese. With funding from Seacology, Haburas has established a participatory reforestation program. Residents are planting tree species that are of value to their communities, improving the environment as well as the local economy.