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Safi Graauw, a Master's student in Earth Sciences, has made a documentary on the positive effects of tree planting on the East African landscape. The video ‘Seeds of Change’ depicts the progress made in reforestation projects in regions seriously affected by deforestation and erosion. Graauw’s documentary has been nominated for the De Jonge Haan 2019 incentive award of the Dutch Advertising Association (Genootschap voor Reclame).

Still uit video Seeds of Change. Image: Vimeo

As part of his Master's degree programme in Earth Sciences, Safi Graauw is studying the effect of landscape restoration featuring tree planting in East Africa on the moisture content of the cloud layer in the region. His research is supervised by John van Boxel, a climatologist with the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics.

Graauw is investigating whether these clouds possibly produce more precipitation than those above a degraded landscape. This knowledge would allow the strategic deployment of landscape restoration projects to restore or improve the water balance of degraded areas in East Africa.

Graauw was commissioned by the NGO Justdiggit to make a documentary entitled 'Seeds of Change', which shows how landscapes experiencing serious deforestation and erosion can be restored relatively easily by planting indigenous trees and bushes. The required techniques are simple and as a result can be easily adopted by the local population. Justdiggit intends to regreen degraded land on a major scale by retaining rainwater and introducing sustainable agriculture.

Incentive award

Graauw views the documentary as a way of introducing the scientific research into landscape restoration in East Africa to a wide audience in an interesting and captivating manner. This has proved successful, as reflected by his nomination for the De Jonge Haan 2019 incentive award.