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How planting trees can help address climate change

luke McMillan
May 11, 2022
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I am going to talk about how planting trees could be part of the solution towards addressing climate change. The United Nations has announced a Decade of Ecosystem Restoration and has set a target to restore *350m hectares – an area bigger than India – by 2030.

In Africa a huge project to plant a strip of trees across 5 km wide and the length of the entirety of sub saharan Afric has already started called the *“Great Green Wall”.

We took a long time to carefully select a partner that we could work with in order to plant trees to a much smaller scale and more importantly also make sure those trees had a high survival rate.

In the end we went with a UK organisation called *Ecologi who provide us with exceptional transparency and accountability for every tree planted in addition to carbon offsets. You can view the level of transparency offered here, you can also view a map/location online of your own forest contribution as well as full details of each project. 

Ecologi mainly use a non-profit partner, the *Eden Reforestation Projects. No Greenwashing here, with an average 80% success rate of survival. They work with local communities who benefit from the long-term success of their forests, with the right trees, protecting their own ecosystems with written agreements from governments protecting the forests in perpetuity.

How tree planting is tracked 

They are tracked using a reliable counting system that counts and sorts the seedlings produced in the nurseries or mangrove propagules collected. Then after they are collected and then planted in their designated area.

Each tree planting clump will specify, the quantity, who it was funded by, how many days ago it was funded, the species, total tree numbers planted, the country and location along with a link to google maps taking you to the location as well as another with the full project name and details including videos. 

How are the trees are protected ?

  • The local communities benefit from the restored forest through fisheries, improved farming, cleaner water, food, shade and formation of microenterprises so destroying it would gain no other benefits so it gives an incentive to keep the forest perpetuity.
  • There are forest guards that are funded through the forest guard endowment fund to give protection to the forest for a long time.
  • The locals are given different fuel sources so that the need for charcoal is reduced/removed.
  • Agroforestry species are planted which over time becomes a means of sustainable income.
  • The locals plant the trees which stops poverty within the local community so they don’t need to destroy the forest for their own selfish needs and gives them a motivation to look after the forest as it is seen as their own.
  • There is no planting in logging areas although there isn’t a 100% guarantee but everything is done to stop it. 
  • There are agreements with the government to protect the forest.

How is the land is protected ? 

Strong relationships with communities and governments have been formed due to hard work from the eden project. There are efforts to make concrete agreements to allow the forest to be perpetual. The forest guards help to keep the forest in tack as they are paid a salary while it is being restored and when it is fully restored there is an endowment to fund the guards.

Who owns the trees ? 

The local communities own the trees as they were part of the restoring of the forest during their employment period but there is an exception as when agroforestry trees are planted at small plot farmer sites where the farmer owns the land they also own the trees plus the proceeds from them. 

Where are the trees planted ?

The reforestation mostly happens on government owned land in developing countries, always with authority from the local community but the rights and authority will vary depending on the nation and planting site. The agroforestry efforts normally happen on sites owned by small-scale farmers. Most of our tree planting is mangrove planting in Madagascar. View this project here.

What type of trees are planted ? 

A percentage of agroforestry species are planted for sustainable community use. So this stops newly restored forests being disturbed by communities which allows them to benefit and be involved with the project. Only local seeds, using the right trees for the right location and different varieties of trees are planted.

What are the methods for tree planting ? 

There are various methods for planting and some of these are Singling, seed balls, seedling nurseries, bare-root transfers and mangrove propagule planting. At least one or two methods are used by different nations but are dependent on the species of the trees that are native to that region. 

Where are seeds and seedlings are purchased from ?

The seeds are collected from remnant forests but also are purchased from local, trusted seed banks. The seedlings are not purchased as they are grown in nurseries. 

Sources

* United Nations – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/19/planting-billions-trees-save-planet

*Great Green Wall – https://www.greatgreenwall.org/about-great-green-wall 

*Ecologi – https://ecologi.com/

*Eden Reforestation Projects – https://www.edenprojects.org/

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