Monday, May 19, 2008

Billion Tree campaign expands target to 7 billion

The Billion Tree campaign, spearheaded by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Agroforestry Centre and begun in 2006, has facilitated the planting of 2 billion trees worldwide, double its original target.

Emboldened by this success, the campaign now plans to increase the target to 7 billion trees. That is, one tree per person, by the 2009 Climate Convention Meeting.

In the 18 months of its existence, the initiative, which is under the patronage of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Kenyan Green Belt Movement founder Professor Wangari Maathai and Prince Albert II of Monaco, has broken every target set and has catalysed tree planting in 155 countries. Under the campaign, people, communities, business and industry, civil society organisations and governments are encouraged to enter tree planting pledges online.

According to the organisers, tree planting is one of the most cost-effective ways to address climate change. Trees and forests play a vital role in regulating the climate since they absorb carbon dioxide. Deforestation, in turn, accounts for over 20% of the carbon dioxide humans generate, rivalling emissions from other sources. Trees also provide livelihood options to poor communities and are crucial for soil fertility, water and biodiversity conservation.

The campaign has “opened the door, especially for the rural poor, to benefit from the valuable products and services the trees provide,” said Dennis Garrity, director general of the Nairobi-based World Agroforestry Centre. “Smallholder farmers could also benefit from the rapidly growing global carbon market by planting and nurturing trees.”

Heads of State, including the presidents of Indonesia, the Maldives, Mexico, Turkey and Turkmenistan as well as businesses, cities, faith, youth and community groups have enthusiastically taken part. Individuals account for over half of all participants.

In a single day in Uttar Pradesh, India, 10.5 million trees were planted.

35 million young people in Turkey have been mobilised to plant trees.

500,000 schoolchildren in sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom have become engaged.


Africa is the leading region, with over half of all tree plantings. Regional and national governments organised massive plantings, with Ethiopia leading the count at 700 million, followed by Turkey (400 million), Mexico (250 million), and Kenya (100 million).

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has planted 60 million trees in 35 countries to improve food security. This assumes significance as the United Nations calls for resolute action to end the global food crisis which affects an estimated 73 million people in 80 countries around the world.

The private sector too has done its bit, accounting for almost 6% of all trees planted. Multinational corporations including Bayer, Toyota, Yves Rocher, Accor Group of Hotels and Tesco Lotus supported the campaign, as did hundreds of medium and small-sized enterprises around the world.

Source: http://infochangeindia.org/200805157136/Environment/News/Billion-Tree-campaign-expands-target-to-7-billion.html

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