FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where are the trees planted, with what methods, and by who?

The Trillion Trees Campaign's first planting partner is Trees for the Future. They plant trees in Sub Saharan Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon and Senegal) by working with farmers to restore their degraded lands. Since 1989, Trees for the Future has planted over 127 million trees throughout the tropics worldwide and is now focusing their efforts in Africa, because this is where they are seeing the biggest impact. Within 4 years, farmers are able to increase their incomes by up to 400% by transforming damaged land into abundant Forest Gardens using a system called Agroforestry, where trees and food crops are grown together. To learn more about Trees for the Future and the people they assist in planting trees please visit:

http://www.atreeaday.org/whos-involved/trees-for-the-future/.

As the Trillion Trees Campaign grows, more of the best tree planting organizations around the world will be included as funding recipients. This opens up the planting platform for a variety of tree planting practices and purposes. Many tree planting organizations will be utilizing restorative agriculture practices, while others will be focusing on restoring native forests, watershed restoration, urban planting and more.

To learn about the Trillion Trees Campaign's long term plan click here.

Where are the trees planted?

From Trees for the Future's website:

“Trees for the Future works in the developing world. For 25 years we have assisted communities in dozens of countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and we have accumulated expertise working throughout arid and humid zones.

We work where we can be successful at significantly improving people’s lives by planting trees. Today, many areas in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from an oppressive cycle involving deep poverty, food insecurity and land degradation; for the coming few years, we will focus our efforts in these areas.

Building on years of experience operating throughout East and West Africa, Trees for the Future will invest in programs in Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya where forest gardens can help break the poverty-insecurity-degradation cycle for millions of impoverished farmers.” –http://www.treesforthefuture.org/top-10-questions-2014/#Q5

How are the trees planted?

Trees for the Future helps farmers plant trees by providing tree seeds, and by educating them on how to transform their barren land into a resource rich Forest Garden, using a system called Agroforestry.

Agroforestry intentionally combines agriculture and forestry to create integrated and sustainable land-use systems. This method results in improved soil quality, higher yields, and improved standards of living. The trees funded by this campaign will be inter-cropped with food, medicinal crops, and/or livestock, to the mutual benefit of all. Trees for the Future also teaches seed collection and storage, enabling communities to become independent, and to plant many additional trees at no cost.

From Trees for the Future's website:

“We focus on the role trees play in agroforestry and in helping farming families improve their land quality and productivity.

Agroforestry integrates trees into agriculture and landscape improvement, a model that is particularly appropriate for resource-poor farmers in developing countries. In addition to providing fruit, berries, and nuts, trees provide environmental services that are essential for families in the developing world. They can improve the fertility of degraded soils through nitrogen fixation and supporting soil microorganisms, prevent wind and soil erosion keeping fertile soils in place, increase water infiltration into underground aquifers, and contribute to other improvements in the growing environment. Trees help to block the wind that might damage crops, and to help trap moisture and nutrients in the soil, improving the microclimate, so that food crops grow better.

Trees also provide livestock feed, create living fences, and can be a source of sustainable fuel wood production. Yes – some of these trees have branches cut for fuel wood, but these are trees that coppice – meaning that branches can be cut and another branch or cluster of branches will grow back in it's place.

You may know Forest Gardens by other names, such as polyculture, permaculture, agroforestry, or something else – and these are all related and good descriptions of what we are aiming for – a multi-layered, multipurpose distribution of vegetables, bushes, and lots of trees – designed to optimize the productivity of a piece of land while also removing and storing the maximum amount of carbon dioxide from the air. It is a farming system that thinks vertically, not just horizontally.

Forest Gardens stand in contrast to modern industrial agriculture which encourages farmers to plant one or few crops. Time and time again, we find monocultures to be chemical-intensive, environmentally-destructive, and deadly to biodiversity and long-term human prosperity.” - Trees for the Future

Who plants the trees?

The trees are planted by farmers who want to restore their damaged land back to fertility.

From Trees for the Future's website:

“Trees for the Future’s technicians and collaborating NGOs work directly with farmers groups. We empower lead farmers, identified within farmer groups, to both distribute materials and act as resources to their fellow farmers. They become mentors for their clusters of farmers. Working with lead farmers and local collaborators, we deliver training directly to the farmers, and we also visit each farmer’s farm at least once every year.

During site visits, TFTF technicians visit the nursery, the family and their Forest Garden, providing onsite consultation and collecting data on the impact of our program. We work with farmers for a four-year cycle, empowering each family to grow and plant a Forest Garden which will help that family well into the foreseeable future.” – http://www.treesforthefuture.org/top-10-questions-2014/#Q5

Read Trees for the Future’s 2015 Impact Report – http://trees.org/app/uploads/2016/06/2015-Impact-Report-optimized.pdf

 

How can they plant a tree for only 10 cents?

Trees for the Future is able to plant trees for 10 cents per tree by providing seeds and Agroforestry (Forest Garden) training. Farmers seeking to restore their degraded land volunteer their labor. They have seen the results in their surrounding communities and have a strong desire to participate. The Forest Garden program teaches farmers how to grow a diversity of crops, protected and nurtured by the surrounding trees that not only feed their families, but also provide a surplus to take to the local markets to sell. Within 4 years, farmers are seeing up to a 400% increase in their income. The farmers are also taught how to collect and save seeds so they can become independent as quickly as possible, and so that additional trees can be planted at no cost.

From Trees for the Future's website:

“Trees for the Future’s technicians and collaborating NGOs work directly with farmers groups. We empower lead farmers, identified within farmer groups, to both distribute materials and act as resources to their fellow farmers. They become mentors for their clusters of farmers. Working with lead farmers and local collaborators, we deliver training directly to the farmers, and we also visit each farmer’s farm at least once every year.

During site visits, TFTF technicians visit the nursery, the family and their forest garden, providing onsite consultation and collecting data on the impact of our program. We work with farmers for a four-year cycle, empowering each family to grow and plant a forest garden, which will help that family well into the foreseeable future.” -http://www.treesforthefuture.org/top-10-questions-2014/#Q5

Read Trees for the Future’s 2015 Impact Report –http://trees.org/app/uploads/2016/06/2015-Impact-Report-optimized.pdf

How do we know the trees are really being planted?

There are several ways that the tree planting being funded by Trillion Trees Campaign donors is being tracked and monitored. Trees for the Future has their own Monitoring and Evaluation teams that use bi-annual farm visits to verify and confirm the planting numbers. There are also satellite technologies that can monitor reforestation efforts globally.

Read more about Trees for the Future's tracking and monitoring system here.

As the Trillion Trees Campaign grows, the resulting tree planting will be evident via satellite year after year. There is a state of the art, open-sourced, interactive web platform called Global Forest Watch. “Global Forest Watch (GFW), launched in February of 2014, is an online forest monitoring and alert system pioneered by the World Resources Institute in partnership with over 40 other organizations, including Google, Esri and the United Nations Environment Program. This platform allows for innovative transparency in tracking forest loss and re-growth, providing yearly tree cover change data from 2001-2015, available to anyone, at no cost, anywhere in the world.” – http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0128-gfrn-moll-rocek-tracking-deforestation-through-satellite-imagery.html

From Trees for the Future's website -

“Our Monitoring and Evaluation teams visit and interview every single farmer taking part in our Forest Garden Program at least twice a year. The data we collect about family size, family health, crop diversity, tree growth and type (and more!) not only helps us adjust and perfect our Forest Garden Approach for each specific region we work in – but allows us to prove the impact we are making in the lives of others.”

“Through a partnership with TaroWorks, a Grameen Foundation company, Trees for the Future rolled out an innovative mobile app-based monitoring system in 2014. In 2015, we aggregated the first full set of annual data aimed to prove how Forest Gardens end hunger and extreme poverty. By visiting farmers for multiple years and by doing longitudinal studies on farmers who have successfully progressed through the Forest Garden program, we are continually ground-truthing projections with families with whom we have built strong trust. In addition to seeing all our participating farmers in four workshops each year, TFTF’s technicians visit each Forest Garden and participating family at least twice per year. In their fields we count trees, bushes, crops and techniques adopted. In their households we collect data on the economic and social impacts resulting from our program. To assess changes in food security and economic resiliency, we survey families at the same time each year – during or directly after the worst of the lean season. Everything we see in the data, and everything we hear from the farmers, indicates that diversifying farms with trees that protect and optimize their agricultural systems, does indeed provide impoverished families with an environmentally sustainable pathway out of extreme poverty.”

Please read the full Trees for the Future Impact Report here.

You can check out the Trees for the Future photo album to view photos of tree planting and the many projects around the world over the years.

You can also check out their youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY54RGJxqeSzd56dmXI0r5A

As new tree planting organizations come on board, they will have there own methods of tracking and monitoring. The Trillion Trees Campaign is only interested in directing funding to those organizations that have accurate, effective and accessible tracking and monitoring systems.

Another initiative called the Global Forest Reporting Network is also taking root and will provide additional tracking and monitoring reporting of the world’s changing forest cover. “Mongabay.org, in collaboration with Global Forest Watch – an initiative led by the World Resources Institute – is launching the Global Forest Reporting Network to improve management and conservation of forests around the world through the power of data and information. The program will establish a network of on and off-site reporters that will cover forest-related topics in areas particularly threatened by human impacts. ” – Global Forest Reporting Network

How do we know where our money is really going?

Trees for the Future is extremely transparent with their financial data, which makes it easy to know that your donations are really making a difference. They post all of their financial statements to their website, after they have been audited by a third-party. They also post quarterly reports, their annual Impact Report, IRS forms and year action plans to their website at this location: http://trees.org/financial-information/

Trees for the Future's programs and financials are also monitored by the third-party non-profit evaluation organization Guidestar, which is the world's largest source of information on non-profit organizations. Trees for the Future has been given the top Guidestar ranking of Gold Participant, and is heralded for their commitment to transparency.

You can read Trees for the Future's Guidestar profile to learn more: http://www.guidestar.org/profile/52-1644869

As the Trillion Trees Campaign grows, more of the best tree planting organizations around the world will be added as funding recipients. Transparency, integrity and efficiency are top priorities when considering an organization’s eligibility.

The Trillion Trees Campaign is volunteer run. 100% of your tax-deductible donation goes directly to tree planting by Trees for the Future.

Can planting a Trillion Trees really reverse climate change?

It is scientifically agreed upon that 350 ppm (parts per million) of CO2 in the atmosphere is a ‘safe zone’ for life as we know it. Since the beginnings of human civilization to now, we have increased the atmospheric carbon dioxide level from 280 ppm to the current 407 ppm.[1] We are now globally emitting approximately 40 billion tons of CO2 per year, which is accumulating in the atmosphere at a rate of 2 ppm per year.[2]www.350.org says that we need to rapidly return to 350 ppm this century.[3] Can we plant enough trees in the next decades to bring the climate back into balance? The Trillion Trees Campaign believes the answer is yes. Here is a way of looking at it to gain perspective.

Each ppm equals 2.13 billion tons of CO2.[4] 407ppm minus 350ppm equals 57 ppm. 2.13 billion multiplied by 57ppm equals 121.41 billion tons of CO2. This means we need to draw a minimum of 121+ billion tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere to return to the ‘safe zone’. And this is just what needs to happen to resolve the ‘legacy load’ of carbon dioxide accumulated up until now.

We are globally emitting an additional 40 billion tons of CO2 annually. This rate will either stay the same or increase until global energy sources and policies are transformed. Using the current rate of 40 billion additional tons per year means that by 2026 an additional 400 billion tons of CO2 will have entered the atmosphere. An estimated 50% of this load is soaked up by the oceans and existing vegetation leaving an additional excess of approximately 200 billion tons of CO2.

This translates into an annual average increase of 2ppm[5], meaning that by 2026 the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will have reached 427ppm. Considering that we started at 280 ppm and 350 ppm is scientifically agreed upon as safe, 427 ppm is a possibility that we must do whatever we can to avoid. How many trees could possibly remove enough of this excess CO2 to bring the atmosphere back into balance? 1 trillion trees – that’s how many.

How Can We Possibly Plant 1 Trillion Trees?

The Trillion Trees Campaign is aiming to help inspire you, and instigate you to inspire others, into globally micro crowd-funding the planting of these needed 1 trillion trees as quickly as possible. If just one person donates to help plant a tree, every day of the year, for as little as 10 cents per tree ($3/month) and then inspires 2 others to do the same within 30 days, with those participants also inspiring 2 others and so on and so forth, 300+ million people could be participating in less than 3 years. If 300+ million people all help to plant A Tree a Day for 10 years, that would fund the planting of over 1 trillion trees.

But Are There Enough People Available to Plant This Many Trees?

As one possible scenario, let's use the Trees for the Future ‘Forest Garden’ model to explain how it is possible to plant 1 trillion trees with farmers in Africa who are desiring to restore their degraded land:

There are currently 250 million African farmers losing their land and livelihood to desertification.[6] With an average of 2.4 acres per family, these 250 million farmers have the potential to restore 600+ million acres of damaged land by planting 4,000 trees per plot – which is the first step in creating their resource rich Forest Gardens with the Trees for the Future model. 4,000 trees multiplied by 250 million farmers amounts to the planting of 1 trillion trees.[7]

Each tree can store an average of 34.6 lbs of carbon per year, and over a 40 year average life cycle they will absorb 1,384 lbs of carbon per tree.[8] Therefore, 1 trillion trees has the potential to store 628+ billion tons of excess CO2 over the next 40 years.

This would not only store the legacy load of 121+ billion tons of CO2, it would also store the expected incoming CO2 over the next decades, allowing humanity the time it needs to realistically transition from a fossil fuel economy, to a clean energy economy. All while bringing trillions of gallons of fresh water back into the water table and increasing farmer’s prosperity, wildlife habitat, soil fertility and so much more.

This is just the power of the trees. The regenerated soil and understory plants have the potential to store significantly more carbon dioxide.[9] It's also important to note that healthy forest ecosystems have many additional functions that also naturally cool the planet. Watch the Trillion Trees Campaign videos ‘How Tree Planting Can Help Reverse Climate Change‘ and ‘How Trees Help Create Healthy Soil' to learn more.

What About Fossil Fuels?

Transitioning from the use of fossil fuels, while necessary, and ultimately inevitable (as there is a finite amount of fossil fuels available), will not in and of it self halt or reverse climate change. The excess carbon dioxide load in the atmosphere needs to be transferred into terrestrial carbon at a rapid pace for the worst of climate change to be avoided. Even if 100% of fossil fuel emissions stopped right now, we would still need to speed up the earth’s natural ability to absorb the legacy load of carbon dioxide.

As well, fossil fuels are the primary energy that drives the global economy and this makes a swift and easy transition to new energy sources very difficult, if not impossible. While the power to quickly transition away from fossil fuels may seem to be ‘out of the hands of the people’ to many degrees, the ability for humanity to restore enough degraded land with tree planting to avoid a climate catastrophe is not only possible, it’s the most affordable, accessible and effective way to resolve cooling the earth.

To maintain a position of logical realism based on the current best estimations of our collective circumstances, it’s important to relate that in addition to fossil fuel emissions, scientists also predict the melting of the permafrost due to rising temperatures, which has the potential to put another 1.67 trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.[10] The above scenario where 600+ million acres of land is restored only accounts for 12% of the estimated 5 billion acres of degraded land that is available for restoration.[11] This means that the planting of another 2 trillion trees is well worth exploring and putting into action. There is no other plan currently available to offset all of the potentially catastrophic levels of excess CO2 in the atmosphere.

Interestingly, the earth is estimated to have had 6 trillion trees 10,000 years ago and now has approximately 3 trillion trees.[12]First reaching the goal of planting a trillion trees, and then planting an additional 2 trillion trees puts the planet back on the track it was on before humanity started to move about the earth and clear trees for agriculture. We now understand that trees and agriculture can thrive together and we have the opportunity to restore the earth back to balance by strategically replanting these trees.

References 

[1] http://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

[2] http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/08/20/atmospheric_co2_humans_put_40_billion_tons_into_the_air_annually.html

[3] http://350.org/about/science/

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth%27s_atmosphere and http://www.undeerc.org/PCOR/sequestration/whatisco2.aspx

[5] http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/carbon_cycle.aspx

[6] http://trees.org/story/desertification/

[7] http://trees.org/story/carbon/

[8] http://trees.org/story/carbon/

[9] http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/04/07/3767437/soil-carbon-fighting-climate-change/

[10] http://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/page5.php

[11] http://www.wri.org/resources/maps/atlas-forest-and-landscape-restoration-opportunities

[12] http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34134366

Where can I verify the information on this website?

You can find the sources for the information on this website here.

If you have additional resources to share, please up-load them on the form on the bottom of the Information Sources page here.

How is it possible to plant a trillion trees?

300+ million people helping to plant a tree every day (for as little as 10 cents per tree - $3/month) for 10 years will fund the planting of over 1 trillion trees. 1 trillion trees have the ability to store roughly 628+ billion tons of carbon dioxide over the next 40 years, which is enough to bring the levels of carbon dioxide in earth’s atmosphere back into a safe zone, cooling the earth and reversing climate change. This many people participating in tree planting will also make a massive positive impact on increasing the fresh water supply, wildlife habitat, human health, resources, healthy soil, and food production - all while combatting drought and desertification, as well as air, soil and water pollution.

There are currently over 1.5 billion farmers in the developing world of the tropics that make a living on their small plots of land, producing 80% of the agriculture they collectively depend on.[1] Considering that “over the past 40 years, approximately 30% of the world’s cropland has become unproductive”[2] with 250 million farmers losing their land and livelihood to desertification[3] and that, “soil degradation costs sub-Saharan Africa $68 billion per year”[4], there are vast networks of farmers and communities across the world that are seeking to restore their degraded land as well as government programs that are working towards large scale ecosystem restoration.

With 300+ million donors funding tree planting organizations that help as many of these farmers as possible, it is conceivable that humanity could unite to reforest the planet on this necessary scale. There is no need to wait for ‘global leadership’ to resolve this crisis. We have the collective power to reach this goal at the affordable rate of $3/month per person with each of us inspiring at least 2 others to help plant trees as well.

For Example:

The 250 million farmers currently losing their land to desertification[5] could restore (with a 2.4 acre per family average) 600+ million acres of damaged land by planting 1 trillion trees. These trees will transform enough CO2 into terrestrial carbon in the form of resource rich Forest Gardens to offset our current legacy load of 121+ billion tons of CO2 along with the expected additional load over the coming decades. 1 trillion trees at an average of 34.6 lbs per year would offset 628+ billion tons of excess CO2 over the next 40 years.[6]

And this is just the power of the trees. The regenerated soil and understory have the potential to store significantly more carbon dioxide.[7] It's also important to know that healthy forest ecosystems have many additional functions that also naturally cool the planet. Watch the A Tree a Day videos ‘How Tree Planting Can Help Reverse Climate Change' and ‘How Trees Help Create Healthy Soil' to learn more.

1. http://www.fao.org/docrep/u8480e/U8480E08.htm

2. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/29/3652020/global-soil-week-forum-recap/

3. http://trees.org/story/desertification/

4. http://www.theglobaleducationproject.org/earth/food-and-soil.php

5. “In Trees for the Future’s Forest Garden program, the average hectare (2.4 acres) sequesters 62.8 metric tons of carbon. At a rate of 4,000 trees per Forest Garden, this equates to an average carbon dioxide offset of 34.6 pounds of carbon per tree. This carbon estimate takes into account the different capacities across the landscapes where Trees for the Future works to create a single carbon estimate using IPCC default values for agroforestry and forests.” – http://trees.org/story/carbon/

6. 4,000  x  250, 000,000 = 1,000,000,000 – 1 Trillion Trees. 34.6 lbs of carbon per tree per year over a 40 year average life cycle (with new trees always planted when trees have been harvested or died) is 1,384 lbs (.63 metric tons – which are 2204.6 lbs) per tree equaling a potential storage of 628+ billion tons of excess CO2 over the next 40 years.

7. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/04/07/3767437/soil-carbon-fighting-climate-change/

What’s the long-term plan for the Trillion Trees Campaign?

The long-term plan of the Trillion Trees Campaign is to fund the restoration of the degraded lands of the earth back to functioning ecosystems by strategically planting a trillion trees. Accomplishing this will ultimately require the participation of all of the best tree planting organizations in the world. However, the Trillion Trees Campaign has begun with only one organization, Trees for the Future, because it is anticipated that, for this campaign to catch on and grow quickly, it needs to be extremely simple and inexpensive. Offering one option makes this a simple yes/no question, and at 10 cents a tree, Trees for the Future offers the most affordable planting option with the highest impact.

Over time other qualified tree planting partners will be added, who plant trees all around the world at rates from 10 cents to 1 dollar per tree. This will offer participants a variety of tree planting locations and planting models to choose from including models that focus on native species, watershed restoration, creating wildlife corridors, urban planting, erosion control, and so on.

The Trillion Trees Campaign offers a plan for people globally to unify around one simple action – tree planting. This can directly improve the lives of millions of people while also providing the best strategy for overcoming the challenges of climate change, which ultimately affect us all.

Tree planting is something we can easily do now, putting the power to avoid a climate catastrophe in the hands of the people. It also helps us overcome many other major global challenges including: lack of fresh water, food shortages, pollution, loss of wildlife and pollinators, soil erosion, poverty, and the rapid transformation of once fertile land into desert.  Sign up now to help plant trees.

Is the Trillion Trees Campaign a non-profit organization?

The Trillion Trees Campaign is neither a ‘for’ or ‘non’-profit organization. It is simply an idea whose time has come. This campaign was created and is managed by a small group of volunteers who have committed their time and resources to hold a vision for a more tree filled and balanced future.

100% of your tax-deductible donations go directly to the non-profit organization Trees for the Future, a 501(c)(3) non-profit registered in the state of Maryland. More tree planting parters will be added soon.

If you would like to support the Trillion Trees Campaign directly you can do so by purchasing apparel and gifts that help plant trees at the campaign's supporting eco-business 'The Reforest Store'.

The Reforest Store sells earth friendly apparel and gifts that help plant trees. Each item sold plants between 6 and 100 trees. The additional profit is used to support the Trillion Trees Campaign's website, social media and educational programming and content.

Please visit www.ReforestStore.com

 

What about planting trees in my area?

The focus of the Trillion Trees Campaign is to create the easiest path for people to get involved in planting as many trees as possible, in those areas of the world that need it the most. As the Trillion Trees Campaign grows, the plan is to bring on tree planting organizations that work in locations all around the world.

If you want to learn how to plant trees where you live and/or get involved in community tree planting in your area, please visit the ‘Plant Locally’ page:
http://www.atreeaday.org/take-action/plant-locally/

Who owns the land and the trees?

From Trees for the Future's website:

“Farmers own the land and the trees on them. They do the labor and provide the land and water. The trees are their futures. We provide seeds, nursery materials and training, but the farmers own their trees, and are responsible for caring for them.” – http://www.treesforthefuture.org/top-10-questions-2014/#Q5

How many farmers want to participate?

There are currently over 1.5 billion farmers in the developing world of the tropics that make a living on their small plots of land, producing 80% of the agriculture they collectively depend on.[1] Considering that “over the past 40 years, approximately 30% of the world’s cropland has become unproductive”[2] with 250 million farmers losing their land and livelihood to desertification[3] and that, “soil degradation costs sub-Saharan Africa $68 billion per year”[4], there are vast networks of farmers and communities across the world that are seeking to restore their degraded land.

1. http://www.fao.org/docrep/u8480e/U8480E08.htm

2. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/29/3652020/global-soil-week-forum-recap/

3. http://trees.org/story/desertification/

4. http://www.theglobaleducationproject.org/earth/food-and-soil.php

Do they plant trees that are native species?

Trees for the Future works with farmers that are restoring their degraded land back to fertility. This is land that the species native to that region are no longer able to thrive in, until after the conditions have been improved. Therefore, ‘pioneer’ species of trees are used for the initial rebooting of the ecosystem. These are naturalized (non-invasive) tree species that are fast growing and multi-purpose. They are also called ‘fertilizer trees’ because they have nitrogen rich leaves that benefit the soil when they drop, and their roots exude lots of carbon sugars that feed soil microorganisms which dramatically increase soil fertility. They also have long taproots that bring minerals and water up from deep within the earth, making these trees drought resistant.

Read the Trillion Trees Campaign Blog about Fertilizer Trees here:
http://www.atreeaday.org/fertilizer-trees/

From Trees for the Future's website:

“In the degraded and deforested zones where we operate, we cannot simply plant the types of trees that used to be there. As trees are lost, the growing conditions on a piece of land change. The trees that once stood there cannot regrow in harsh, direct sunlight. We have to find other trees with pioneer qualities that tolerate harsh, full sunlight and arid conditions. After the pioneer species begin to cool the land and improve soil quality we have more success growing a diverse array of fruit trees and hardwoods. There are times when the best pioneer trees for a given landscape and climate are not native, but they are generally naturalized.

For us, the primary concern is not indigenous vs. non-native, but rather, of invasiveness. Whether a species is invasive or not is a complex issue; the same species may or may not be considered invasive, depending on local environmental conditions. We work with local forestry specialists and the communities themselves to identify appropriate trees species for each place we operate.

Further, many of the most economically beneficial species can be both non-native and non-invasive. For example, we plant many orange, mango, and banana trees every year at some of our project sites in Africa even though they are not indigenous.”
– http://www.treesforthefuture.org/top-10-questions-2014/#Q5

As the Trillion Trees Campaign grows, funding will be expanded to all of the best tree planting organizations in the world. These organizations work in different areas of the world and many of them do use native species when possible. The areas that are restored with pioneer species often see the return of many native species that had become latent in the soil due to harsh conditions. This is called ‘assisted natural regeneration’ and not only stimulates the return of plant species, but also the animal and insect species (including pollinators) as well as the microorganisms in the soil.

How do they water the trees in areas of drought?

The first step in Trees for the Future’s ‘Forest Garden’ program is to plant ‘multi-purpose fast-growing fertilizer trees’ such as the Moringa tree. The trees are planted during the rainy season and can grow up to 15 feet within the first year. This rapid growth establishes the trees roots systems, which have deep taproots that find water deeper down in the water table. This reduces the need for additional irrigation throughout the year. The system of agroforestry helps to improve the natural water cycle of the land, improving water catchment and absorption through the leaf canopy, understory plants and improved soil.

“We time our nurseries so that seedlings are planted at the beginning of every rainy season, maximizing the amount of time they get rained on because most trees we plant are not watered throughout the dry season. When we train people in arid lands to establish nurseries, we have found ways for farmers to grow seedlings by using minimal amounts of gray water from the house instead of intensively using large amounts of fresh water. When designing forest gardens, we often have to select drought resistant trees and plant windbreaks to minimize the drying effect on the land.” – http://www.treesforthefuture.org/top-10-questions-2014/#Q5

How do we know the trees won’t just be cut down?

It is expected that the farmers will be using a portion of their Forest Garden to meet their fuel wood and livestock forage needs. The percentage of trees used is small in comparison to the overall Forest Garden, and is incorporated into the calculation of the 10 cents per tree average. This is also factored in when finding the average carbon sequestration of each tree planted, which is 34.6 lbs per year.[1]

Additionally, the trees used for these purposes coppice, which means that a branch can be cut and multiple branches will grow back in its place when cared for properly. These branches are often used for fuel wood, mulch and livestock feed – which are resources that would have previously been either purchased or foraged, adding to deforestation and the cycle of poverty. Farmers are also encouraged to plant hardwood trees with the intention of future harvesting. Trees are a powerful and dynamic resource and when used appropriately and in balance with the surrounding ecosystem, can provide for all of the basic needs in life.

[1] http://trees.org/story/carbon/

What about stopping more deforestation?

While the focus of the Trillion Trees Campaign is on people helping to plant trees, it is hopeful that, through more people engaging in reforestation, more attention will be paid to the dangers of the present deforestation rates. It has been shown that the more awareness there is about the importance of the ecological services that trees provide, the more likely it is that individuals, groups, and governments will respond to deforestation with policy changes and direct action.

Over time, massive reforestation will take a huge amount of pressure off of our existing forests, as the global resource pool will be in a state of expansion rather than contraction. To learn more about deforestation in the tropics and follow regular reporting please visit www.mongabay.org

Another platform that is tracking and monitoring the changes in global forest cover is Global Forest Watch http://www.globalforestwatch.org/explore

How can you plant forests without losing farmland?

Historically, many humans have not been aware of the essential ecological services that trees provide, such as managing the water cycle or building and protecting topsoil. Forests have been perceived of as unusable space, and have been cleared for centuries to make way for agriculture, development and other industries. The problem is that, once land has been cleared of it's vegetation, it can start to lose it's fertility and often only supports a handful of growing cycles before external inputs such as fertilizer and irrigation are required. Fortunately, many processes have been discovered that intercrop food and medicinal crops with trees in a way that takes advantage of the trees ecological services as well as provides the necessary elements for the crops to flourish. By strategically choosing and positioning the right kinds of trees, crop yields can be increased while dependance on external inputs can be reduced or eliminated.

The Trillion Trees Campaign's first planting partner, Trees for the Future, works with farmers to restore degraded farmland back to fertility, which protects the total amount of farmland on the planet. There has been a common misunderstanding that once land is damaged it is best to leave it behind and try to make a living elsewhere. This has created a massive migration of poor farmers to urban slums, and as climate change continues to impact people around the world, these migration trends will continue to escalate, adding to the global refugee crisis. Trees for the Future’s ‘Forest Garden’ program offers a model of land management that is an alternative to this misunderstanding, keeping people on their land while increasing their health and prosperity.

People clearing land for agriculture over the last 10,000 years has unintentionally left an estimated 5 billion acres of land, an area twice the size of the USA, with minimal to no fertility.[1] Not only is growing trees and food together possible, in super hot dry climates it is beneficial and even necessary for good crop production. It turns out that planting the right kinds of trees in and around food, medicine, livestock feed and fuel crops, is not only a more resilient, diverse, prosperous and nutritious way for farmers to meet the needs of their families and communities, it is also much better for the long term health of their land.

The Forest Gardens thrive because they enjoy a healthy diversity of trees and plants and smart, multi-function processes that create the conditions for very hot and dry land to thrive with the protection and nurturing of the trees. This means that barren soil becomes healthy and alive again. This healthy soil is the key to overcoming drought as the soil becomes sponge-like and is able to hold moisture again. Trees help to improve the natural water cycle on the land while also protecting and feeding the soil with their canopies of nutrient rich leaves, and by feeding carbon sugars to the soil microorganisms through their roots.

There are currently 1.5 billion people who live their lives and make their livelihoods on their small plots of land.[2] These farmers produce 80% of the food they collectively share, and an alarming 250 million of them are now losing their land to desertification.[3] The antidote to this trend is restoring this land with Forest Gardens. Let’s not lose much of the world’s vital cropland to a warming planet. Let’s help farmers plant trees to restore and protect this land now by each of us signing up to help plant trees.

1. http://www.wri.org/resources/maps/atlas-forest-and-landscape-restoration-opportunities

2. http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/nr/sustainability_pathways/docs/Factsheet_SMALLHOLDERS.pdf

3. http://www.fao.org/docrep/u8480e/U8480E08.htm and http://trees.org/story/desertification/

Why is the Trillion Trees Campaign planting in Africa first?

While the long term goal of the Trillion Trees Campaign is to help restore all of the degraded lands of the earth, the fact is that Africa is already facing the worst of climate change and is at risk for massive further desertification. Africa's enormous size and diversity has a great deal of influence on global climate and terrestrial patterns, and therefor the continued desertification of Africa has a serious negative impact on the entire planet.

The African continent is also recovering from the worst environmental and social exploitation on the globe, and has the highest poverty and income inequality rates. Half the sub Saharan population lives on less than $1.50 a day. By planting trees in Forest Gardens, farmers increase their income which often means they are able to enjoy healthier food, medicine and even education for their children. Helping these farmers restore their degraded land also keeps them and their families on their land, rather than having to migrate to find work. The global refugee crisis has hit a record of over 60 million displaced people, and is expected to continue escalating over the coming decades as the drought and extreme weather from the changing climate drives more people from their homelands. Planting trees as the first step in land restoration is the best solution to help these people not only survive on their land, but to thrive as well.

Over 250 million farmers in Africa are now experiencing their land turning to dust.[1] Trees for the Future has a long history of working in Africa and their resource-rich Forest Garden tree planting model is the antidote to this trend. If given the opportunity, these farmers have the ability to restore over 600+ million acres of African soil – regenerating fresh water and wildlife habitat while significantly growing their pool of ecosystem resources. This regenerated land also has enough potential carbon storage capacity to effectively reverse climate change.

The Forest Garden tree planting model developed by Trees for the Future stands out as having the highest impact for the lowest cost per tree. The Trillion Trees Campaign is honored to partner with Trees for the Future and to direct donations to their planting efforts in Africa. The long-term plan of the Trillion Trees Campaign is as the campaign grows year after year, donations will be directed to all the best tree planting organizations around the world.

Reforestation is needed in most places around the world, and especially in the tropics, in both urban and rural environments. The Trillion Trees Campaign looks forward to offering planting options everywhere trees are needed, with the understanding that planting costs are generally closer to $1 per tree in most of these regions. Starting in Africa for 10 cents a tree gives you the largest impact for your investment, pulling the most carbon dioxide out of the air per dollar donated, reversing the trend of desertification, and increasing the quality of life for hard working African farmers.

  1. http://trees.org/story/desertification/
Can I plant more than the suggested 'A Tree a Day' for $3 a month?

Yes! When you click Plant Now, the check out page will pop up and you can chose to donate as much as you like as a monthly, or one-time donation, from the following options:

Can I make a one-time donation?

Yes! When you click Plant Now, the check out page will pop up and you can chose to donate as much as you like as a monthly, or one-time donation, from the following options:

Can I plant trees in someone's honor or memory?

Yes! When you click Plant Now, the check out page will pop up and you can chose to plant A Tree a Day in someone's honor or memory:

If I can’t donate, can I still help plant trees?

4 cost-free ways to help plant trees:

1. Help spread the word about this campaign and inspire those in your community to sign up. Your participation in sharing this campaign across diverse social groups is very important. Please visit the Share Now page for five fun and easy ways to inspire your friends and family to join:   http://www.atreeaday.org/take-action/share-now/

2. Search the web with search engine ‘Ecosia’. Ecosia donates at least 80% of its monthly profits from ad sales to plant trees in Africa. So far Ecosia has funded the planting of over 6.2 million trees. Search now at www.ecosia.org and visit https://info.ecosia.org/project to learn more about their tree planting projects.

3. Shop Amazon at www.smile.amazon.com when making online purchases. Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. Select ‘Trees for the Future’ when signing up and help plant trees every time you shop. 

4. Learn how to plant trees locally and start planting trees where you live. http://www.atreeaday.org/take-action/plant-locally/

 

The information sources for this website, blog and videos are listed here. For additional educational resources explore the Why Trees videos and the Tree Media page.

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