Projects Boosting World Tree Cover
It is a sad fact that 14,800 square miles – an area similar to the size of Switzerland – is lost every year to deforestation. In the year 2019 alone, nine million acres of rain forest were destroyed and in the 30 year span between 1990- 2020, 4.2% of the world’s tree cover was lost.
By the year 2030, only 10% of the world’s rain forests will be left. These are all horrifying statistics but luckily there are signs that we are gradually fighting back with some excellent re-forestation projects taking place around the world…
Why are trees important to our planet?
To understand the severity of the problem and why deforestation has to stop, it is important to understand the many benefits that trees bring to our planet -.
* Trees absorb about 35% of global emissions every year
* They help combat climate change and provide essential shade
* Trees help keep cities and towns cool – earthday.org explains – ‘One large oak tree, for example, can transpire 40,000 gallons of water into the atmosphere over one year’.
* They help prevent soil erosion and conserve water.
* They support all types of wildlife – 50% of all plant and animal species live in the rain forests.
* Trees provide wood for heating and furniture
* Trees provide rubber and paper
* Trees provide medicines – more than 25% of medicines come from plants that grow in the rain forests
With Such Huge Scale Deforestation Currently Taking Place…
- 137 different species of plants, animals and birds are lost every single day.
- Tropical deforestation contributes to about 20% to annual greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)
- 75% of new diseases come from animals and the more man has encroached on their habitats, the more new diseases will be contracted by man.
- 2,400 trees are chopped down every minute. During the time you have read this sentence, three hectares of forest trees will have been cut down.
Some Of The Exciting New Tree Planting Projects…
There are a number of tree planting projects currently taking place across the world. Some are to offset deforestation and global warming, whilst others are to reintroduce endangered animal species and to enhance an area’s natural water cycle.
The Trillion Trees project
The World Economic Forum which comprises of WWF, Birdlife International and the Wildlife Conservation Society, has initiated this huge reforestation project in partnership with governments, businesses and entrepreneurs. It is a worldwide project, encouraging local people in many countries to get involved. The project was launched in 2020 to plant, restore and conserve one trillion trees by 2030 and re-establish 350 million hectares of forest.
Ecosia – A Worldwide Website Initiative
The innovative website https://www.ecosia.org/?c=en is a search engine that was launched on 7 December 2009 by Christian Kroll in Berlin, Germany. The site has 15 million users using English and 27 other languages. When a user searches on the web using Ecosia this generates money from the advertisers. Ecosia uses the money to plant native trees through 20 different restoration projects in 15 different countries. The aim is to plant one billion trees and so far at least 147, 380, 257 trees have been planted. Many of the trees are being planted in areas rich in biodiversity and in others where they can positively impact local communities.
The World Land Trust At Work In Brazil
Two million trees have already been successfully planted by the World Land Trust – with the help of local people keen to help restore forests that have been decimated by deforestation and to protect vital habitats. One of the key areas where work is being undertaken is in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil.
Developing Sustainable Tree-Based Food Producing Systems
World Agroforestry uses science and development to help governments, development agencies and individual farmers to make food farming environmentally and socially sustainable as well as economically viable. World Agroforestry has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and operates six regional programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The organisation also carries out research in 30 countries in the developing world and initiates many schemes to increase the number of trees and rejuvenate degraded land.
And A Great Project For Northern England…
The Northern England Forest Project has already planted three million trees since it began in 2018 and aims to plant 50 million trees enhancing landscapes from the west to east coast and in areas around many cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, York and Hull. This part of England has been chosen because it is home to more than 13 million people, but only 7.6% of the area is woodland. This percentage is much lower than the UK average of 13%. The 50 million trees will totally transform this part of English countryside and will be really beneficial to all the local communities.
Fun Ways To Get Tree Planting
Why not plant a tree in your garden? If you have space- it is great fun to nurture a young tree. If you need some great advice and tips to get you going, the Woodland Trust website is a great place to start!
In an article in Emine Saner’s article in The Guardian, she quotes some sound basic advice from Jon Stokes, director of trees, science and research at the Tree Council:-
‘You don’t need permission, but you do need to think about what species will grow where you live, and also how big it could get. It’s no use planting an oak tree two feet outside your back door – it will damage your house,” says Tucker. “You need to think about house foundations, underground drains, overhead power lines and make sure the tree is going to be in a place where it can grow and not have any adverse impact. Think about the effect on your neighbours, too. Smaller species include apple trees or rowan’.
If you don’t have the opportunity to plant your own trees, The National Trust has a great tree planting scheme. You can pay for a single tree to be planted for just £5. You will be given a certificate with details of your tree and this is a great surprise gift to give someone for their birthday or to mark any special occasion. With a donation of £500 you can fund the planting of 1,000 square metres of woodland.
The UK alone needs to increase the amount of woodland from 13- 17% and this means planting about 30,000 hectares every year – why don’t you plan to plant a tree for each family member in 2022?
Scientists believe that globally protecting forest environments and the animals that live in them will help ensure there is not another global pandemic. Food for thought indeed….