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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Billion Tree Campaign

I learned this morning about the Billion Tree Campaign, a campaign to plant a billion trees, worldwide in 2007.
From the billiontreecampaign website:

Under the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, people, communities, organizations, business and industry, civil society and governments are being encouraged to plant trees and enter their tree planting pledges on this web site. The objective is to plant at least one billion trees worldwide during 2007.
The idea for the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign was inspired by Professor Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate for 2004 and founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, which has planted more than 30 million trees in 12 African countries since 1977. When a corporate group in the United States told Professor Maathai it was planning to plant a million trees, her response was: “That’s great, but what we really need is to plant a billion trees.”

You can go to the website and pledge to plant a tree on the website. You don't need a yard to do it, you can pledge to plant a tree in a pot if that is all you can manage. There is also advice on the website about how to plant a tree correctly.
I think this is a wonderful idea, and will look into pledging a tree. I would like to put in a Lilac or a Japanese Maple this season....
Here are some interesting facts from the website about forestation and deforestation:

1. Trees quite literally form the foundations of many natural systems. They help to conserve soil and water, control avalanches, prevent desertification, protect coastal areas and stabilize sand dunes. Forests are the most important repositories of terrestrial biological biodiversity, housing up to 90 per cent of known terrestrial species. Trees and shrubs play a vital role in the daily life of rural communities. They provide sources of timber, fuel wood, food, fodder, essential oils, gums, resins and latex, medicines and shade. Forest animals have a vital role in forest ecology such as pollination, seed dispersal and germination.

2. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and are vital carbon sinks. It is estimated that the world’s forests store 283 Gigatonnes of carbon in their biomass alone, and that carbon stored in forest biomass, deadwood, litter and soil together is roughly 50 per cent more than the carbon in the atmosphere.

3. The loss of natural forests around the world contributes more to global emissions each year than the transport sector. Curbing deforestation is a highly cost-effective way to reduce emissions. Other solutions include increased energy efficiency, reduced energy demand, better transport and the use of green energy.

4. World population currently stands at 6.5 billion people. It is projected to grow to 9 billion by 2042. The expansion of agricultural and industrial needs, population growth, poverty, landlessness and consumer demand are the major driving forces behind deforestation. Most deforestation is due to conversion of forests to agricultural land. Global removals of wood for timber and fuel amounted to 3.1 billion cubic metres in 2005.

5. Forest planting and the natural expansion of forests help to reduce the net loss of forests. The net change in forested area in the period 2000–2005 is estimated at 7.3 million hectares a year (an area about the size of Sierra Leone or Panama), down from 8.9 million hectares a year in the period 1990–2000.

6. The Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign encourages the planting of trees in four key areas, namely: (i) degraded natural forests and wilderness areas; (ii) farms and rural landscapes; (iii) sustainably managed plantations; and (iv) urban environments.

7. To make up for the loss of trees in the past decade, we would need to plant 130 million hectares (or 1.3 million km2), an area as large as Peru.

8. Covering the equivalent of 130 million hectares would entail planting approximately 14 billion trees every year for 10 consecutive years. This would require each person to plant and care for at least two seedlings a year.

9. In one year, an average tree inhales 12 kilograms (26 pounds) of CO2 and exhales enough oxygen for a family of four for a year.

"If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed. If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree." Chinese poet, 500 BC


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