How Fast Can Trees Be Planted?
India Holds the World Record – 66 Million Trees in 1 Day
Restoring the degraded lands of the earth by planting trees may sound impossible until you put it into perspective. It is inspiring to learn of the communities around the world planting trees at a surprising rate. It is also clear that when tree planting takes root as a tradition and becomes part of the culture, people can come together and achieve astounding results, creating safer, more resilient and resource rich communities for generations to come.
India shines as the world leader in tree planting with the astonishing example of 1.5 million volunteers coming together to plant 66 million trees in one day. On July 11th 2016, tree planters of all ages from around the state of Madhya Pradesh worked for 24 hours to plant the seedlings, which had been raised in local nurseries. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan reported, “We will be contributing significantly in saving nature. By participating in this tree planting effort people are contributing their bit to climate change initiatives and saving the environment.” This is part of a major commitment for India’s to reforest 12% of it’s land by 2030.
The Philippines was the previous world record holder having brought their countries citizen’s together to plant 3.2 million trees in just one hour. Their history of deforestation has left much of this long string of islands environmentally devastated and the government has successfully integrated tree planting into the national culture in order to restore their land.
Australia Plants a Million Trees in 1 Day
Australia’s National Tree Day shows what can happen in a notoriously hot and dry country when lots of everyday citizens get together to plant trees. They currently plant over 1 million trees in a single day to celebrate what has now become a tradition.
Climate change has created one of the longest and most severe droughts in the country’s history, and the people of Australia have been pitching in to do their part in creating positive change. Since 1996, almost 4 million citizens have planted over 22 million native trees and plants. The project focuses on native species to help combat the loss of biodiversity that has been increasing each year.
These species are adapted to the wide variety of microclimates and provide the best habitat and food for local wildlife. The participants are well aware that while these trees and plants help with climate change by converting CO2 to natural resources, their plantings are also helping to clean the air, restore the water table, prevent erosion, reduce the saltiness of the soil and so much more. 200,000 Australian students have also added their efforts, while learning the short and long-term benefits of taking care of their ecosystems. As well, a group called Men of the Trees planted 100,450 trees in just one hour. The culture of restoration is alive and growing in this country, in the face of severe environmental challenges, facilitating a greener, brighter future for everyone.
Ireland Unites to Increase Tree Cover
Equally remarkable, a network of tree planters in Ireland also hopes to plant 1 million trees in one day. They have already planted 400,000 trees in the past 4 years as a test trial. On February 20th of this year they will be planting 250,000 native trees at over 500 sites across the island. Ireland has only 1% of their original forests intact after centuries of logging, leaving it one of the least forested countries in Europe.
With land use being a source of tension, the first question posed to the country’s people was ‘who has land available for trees?” Fearing the worst, the group was shocked that although large swaths of land were not offered, thousands of smaller offers, including from over 1,600 farmers, flooded their inbox with a great deal of enthusiasm fueling the effort. They are currently working towards securing funding to reach their goal of following Australia’s lead and planting a million trees in one day. Imagine if every country in the world adopted this model, nearly 200 million trees could be planted globally in one day. Every 5 years another billion trees would be leading the way towards regaining ecological balance.
Bhutan’s Cultural Roots in Tree Planting
Bhutan, an even smaller country located high in the Himalayas between China and India, has committed to plant trees as a way to do their part to combat climate change. Although already well forested with high quality land management practices, they set a world record last year by planting a stunning 50,000 trees in just one hour. And following this feat, the people again came together to plant 108,000 trees to welcome the birth of a new prince. Tenzin Lekphell, the coordinator of the event explained that, “In Buddhism, a tree is the provider and nourisher of all life forms, symbolizing longevity, health, beauty and even compassion”.
The country, infamous for it’s preferring a Gross Domestic Happiness factor to the traditional GDP as a signifier of the country’s prosperity, is noted for storing 3x the amount of CO2 produced by it’s citizens. In another bold move, they recently announced they are committed to returning to 100% organic agricultural practices by the year 2020. Along with their trees, this transition will continue to increase the amount of carbon being stored in their soil as organic farming practices help build healthy soil. Soil that is teaming with microorganisms removes CO2 from the atmosphere and can hold it for hundreds of years as soil carbon. With living soils able to store up to 3x the above ground vegetation, Bhutan may break another world record for being the biggest carbon sink per capita in the world.
Pakistan’s ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’
Pakistan has also wholeheartedly embraced the tree planting revolution with their ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ committing to plant 1 billion trees by the end of next year. With 250 million saplings currently being planted and 450 million more being cultivated within forest enclosures, they are well on their way to reaching this goal.
Local communities are doing the planting and the protecting and while the government was opposed to this effort at first, they have not only now embraced the project, but have also started their own ‘Green Pakistan Program’ with the goal of planting an additional 100 million trees. Land degradation is a major problem in Pakistan, a once fertile region, with increased flooding adding to the erosion. Once the authorities took note of the many positive outcomes of tree planting, they overcame judgments that initially dismissed the project as unachievable. With women increasing their incomes by caring for the saplings and the enrollment of school children to join the effort, this Billion Tree Tsunamis is re-greening this dusty landscape at an incredible rate.
Rwanda Wins Award for Innovative Forestry Initiative
Currently, many other countries have impressive reforestation pledges including Rwanda, whose innovative and effective forestry and land management practices were well noted at the Paris COP21 conferences on Climate Change. Their ‘Forests for People’ initiative boasts an ambitious goal to reforest 30% of the country by 2020 and to restore all of their degraded land over time. They hold a world record in reforestation for how quickly they were able to restore 20% of the country to date. They have found that empowering women and granting land tenure to the citizens participating in the restoration efforts has been key to their rapid success.
The government also declared a National Tree Week where every adult is asked to plant trees and free seedlings are made available. Rwanda learned a valuable lesson on the impacts of environmental destruction when the river that supplies the majority of the countries electricity through hydropower was too low to function properly. They found that planting trees to restore the highlands at the source of the river was the solution to restoring balance. Wangari Maathai, leader of the Green Belt Movement in neighboring Kenya noted, ““Rwanda has sought not only to make its forests a national priority, but has also used them as a platform to revolutionize its stances on women’s rights and creating a healthy environment.” Planting trees in Rwanda is not only increasing their natural resources, lifting people out of poverty and helping with climate change, it is improving gender relationships within their society.
3 Billion Trees Planted in the USA
From 1933 to 1942, 3 million American young men participated in a natural resource conservation program that resulted in the planting of nearly 3 billion trees. The US government, under the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt, enlisted the support of its civilian population to plant trees during one of the most challenging periods in the country’s history. In the midst of the Great Depression there was a severe lack of jobs and hope in the future, with moral at an all time low. The Civilian Conservation Corps was created as a work relief program that had an abundance of other benefits. Along with helping to reforest America, they also created over 800 parks across the nation, while building a network of public roadways and service buildings in remote areas. These men were given shelter, training, clothing, food and a small wage in exchange for their labor, labor that is continuing to bear it’s fruits in the great National Parks of today.
Trees for the Future
Help Plant Trees first planting partner, Trees for the Future, also shares the incredible story of how fast trees can be planted by having planted over 155 million trees since 1989. The more Forest Gardens they plant, the more neighboring communities see the results and ask for assistance. With desire and knowledge already in place, all they need is our support. Sign Up today to help plant a tree, every day, for 10 cents a tree – just $3 a month.