2 billion trees planted in 18 months
May 13, 2008
The effort, launched in 2006, is an effort to address a number of environmental challenges including global warming, biodiversity loss, desertification, erosion, and freshwater availability. Trees have been planted in more than 150 countries with half the plantings occurring in Africa, the continent that has suffered the largest percentage loss of forest cover over the past 50 years. With 700 million tree plantings, Ethiopia accounted for 35 percent of the reforestation to date.
"Having exceeded every target that has been set for the campaign, we are now calling on individuals, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments to evolve this initiative onto a new and even higher level by the crucial climate change conference in Copenhagen in late 2009."
The planting of trees in the tropics helps mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas. Trees also help generate rainfall through the process of transpiration and reduce erosion by anchoring soils.
Trees further offer economic benefits to rural by providing a source of food, timber, fiber, medicines, and energy. The UN's World Food Programme, another backer of the Billion Tree Campaign, says that trees offer food security at a time when many populations are suffering from high food prices.
The announcement from the Billion Tree Campaign comes less than a month after The Nature Conservancy launched a program to plant a billion trees in Brazil's Atlantic forest.