Facts, findings, opinions and studies about tree planting actions, campaigns and initiatives

Afforestation and reforestation are often highly desirable. Planting trees can restore land that has been deforested, especially if it is restored as a diverse, multi-species, un-managed forest similar to natural ones, and not as a monoculture of managed plantations. Restored “natural” forests promote biodiversity and limit extinction risk for many species, reduce soil erosion, improve water supplies, and can generate tourism, recreation, and other services to support local economies. In cities, trees provide shade and beauty, and moderate the urban heat island effect. – Climate Interactive

Compare this with a recent, disturbing report which showed that 45% of global tree planting pledges were for single-species plantations, the consequences of which can be grim for biodiversity and the climate. – Euractiv

When forests and other ecosystems are damaged, they take decades or even centuries to fully recover, if they ever do. For that reason, it is vitally important right now to protect existing forests and healthy working forest lands than to plant new trees. The best way to maximize carbon sequestration, water filtration, flood regulation, wildlife habitat, and the other benefits trees give us is to keep existing forests healthy and intact. Then, we can build on this foundation through wise restoration and reforestation efforts. – Forest Trends

One goal of Greening Deserts projects is to plant over 100 billion trees worldwide, especially in Europe and Africa during the next years. Together with the nations and awesome projects like the Great Green Wall, Great Green Wall North Africa, The Green Belt Movement and the Trillion Trees Campaign we can reach the goal fast and efficient. – Greening Deserts

Natural forests serve as carbon sinks and are home to much terrestrial biodiversity. Forests provide clean air and water, help prevent soil erosion and coastal flooding, and provide livelihoods for Indigenous Peoples. Tree plantations are often a no-go zone for human communities and endangered species. And while they store very little carbon, they definitely seize the media’s attention. – Greenpeace

Planting a trillion trees around the globe, assuming a relatively dense 2,000 trees per hectare, would require about 500 million hectares (1.2 billion acres). A hotly debated Science paper last year put the amount of land around the world that could support continuous tree cover and isn’t currently being used by humans at about 900 million hectares (2.2 billion acres). – MIT Technology Review

Scientists are now testing and comparing strategies that range from letting nature take its course, to forest-management approaches that look a lot like farming. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but the work exposes some philosophical friction. Ecologists seeking to increase biodiversity might champion a broad range of species, whereas sustainable-development advocates could back exotic fruit-bearing trees that benefit local people. And researchers seeking to mitigate climate change might push for a single fast-growing variety. – Nature.com

Moreover, some 80 percent of terrestrial biodiversity occurs in forests. Protecting trees is a way of protecting much of what makes life on earth life on earth. – New York Times

At the moment, there is a lot of excitement about planting trees to absorb greenhouse gas emissions. But tree plantations can threaten natural habitats and often use only a single non-native species, and so have low biodiversity value and low resilience to any future shocks. They won’t provide the same benefits as allowing natural ecosystems to thrive. Good nature-based solutions are those that involve protecting the ecosystems we’ve still got, restoring those we’ve lost or damaged, and planting trees very carefully, making sure we plant the right species in the right places. – Oxford Alumni

A trillion trees is a lot, but would be woefully inadequate to address the global warming crisis, according to Democrats and climate scientists who said Republican backers of a tree-planting plan are using it to distract attention from the need to phase out fossil fuel use. .. Six nations with the most room for new trees are Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil and China. – Phys.org

“Planting trees is now advocated by a wide range of stake-holders, often in the form of large-scale, monoculture tree plantations. In the current form, these will aggravate, not improve, the climate and biodiversity crises.” That’s from a new briefing by Greenpeace rejecting the one trillion trees campaign that was launched last month at the World Economic Forum… The claim that global tree restoration is our most effective climate change solution is simply incorrect scientifically and dangerously misleading. Although ecological restoration, if carefully implemented, can have a role in mitigating climate change, it is no substitute for the fact that most fossil fuel emissions will need to stop to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. – REDD-Monitor

Reforestation is an important nature-based solution, not only for climate mitigation, but also for the multiple co-benefits it provides, including biodiversity conservation, clean air and water, and poverty alleviation… The first thing we can do is keep existing forests standing, and the second is to allow trees to regenerate in areas that were formerly forests. – Science Daily

The researchers found that increased levels of forest can reduce the available water in nearby rivers dramatically, cutting river flow by as much as 23% after five years and 38% after 25 years. The effect of trees on river flow is smaller in drier years than wetter ones. The type of soil conditions also have an effect—trees planted on healthy grassland have a larger impact on river flow than forests on former degraded agricultural land. – Science Friday

Conservation has moved from ideas of biodiversity to how much carbon can you capture — and then to the idea that forests should be the focus of carbon sequestration…
Then there are differences in meaning between ‘restoration’ and ‘rehabilitation’, ‘reforestation’ and ‘afforestation’, ‘planting’ trees and ‘growing’ trees. – SciDevNet

Humans have long believed that planting trees, any kind of tree, anywhere, is good, something Mother Nature cries out for, something that might even solve our climate crisis. Tree-planting initiatives proliferate: the Bonn Challenge, Trees for the Future, Trees Forever, the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami, Plant a Billion Trees, 8 Billion Trees, the Trillion Tree Campaign, the One Trillion Trees Initiative, to mention just a few. – Slate

There is no climate change silver bullet; planting trees helps, but it’s just one piece of silver buckshot among the many solutions needed to avert a climate crisis. – Skeptical Science

A closer look reveals faults in the optimistic plans. For example, nearly 80 percent of commitments to the Bonn Challenge involve planting monoculture tree plantations or a limited mix of trees that produce products such as fruit and rubber rather than restoring natural forests. Plantations typically have significantly less potential for carbon sequestration, habitat creation and erosion control than natural forests. The potential benefit dwindles further if planted trees replace natural forests, grasslands or savannahs – ecosystems that have evolved to support unique, local biodiversity. – Standford

Protecting and maintaining intact forests is more efficient, more ecologically sound, and less costly than planting trees, or replanting. – Treehugger

The first rule for ecosystem restoration is to stop the further destruction of forests, wetlands, and other critical ‘green infrastructure’. Conserving natural habitats is always cheaper than restoring it later. – UN Environment

Forests have already removed nearly one third of human-produced carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere. Through sustainable forest management, they could remove much more. – Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs

The world’s forests are home to half of all terrestrial species. Their foliage recycles rainfall to keep the interiors of continents from turning into desert, and they store CO2 that would otherwise add to global warming. Their restoration is fast becoming a global clarion call,
essential for protecting biodiversity and climate. – Yale

The best way to beat climate change—the warming of Earth caused by gases like carbon dioxide emitted by human industry, leading to rising sea levels, worsening fires and storms, drought, and disease—is simple. Plant a trillion trees. – Wired

WWF, the Wildlife Conservation Society and BirdLife International today launched the Trillion Trees programme, a new 25-year initiative to help scale global forest commitments and spur greater ambitions towards protecting and restoring one trillion trees by 2050, the number needed to reverse the global decline in tree cover. – WWF