When people think about tree planting, they think of many different activities. Their outlook is often dictated by their past experiences and the geography of the regions that they live in. However, it is hard to describe tree planting accurately in a short commentary, because different types of tree planting activities around the world are as diverse as the types of food that people eat.
Many people have been exposed to tree planting while growing up, as part of school programs. Likewise, many community organizations (Scouts, Rangers, Wardens, Guides) host annual field days which give children or young adults a chance to participate in a small project, traveling to a park or rural setting to learn about our forests, and planting a handful of their own trees.
In some parts of the world, deforestation is a very major issue, and groups of people are working on bigger projects to reintroduce forests to their coastlines, fields, hillsides, and even sub-alpine regions. In these areas, reforestation accomplishes many goals, including erosion control, greenification, creation of animal habitat, and even carbon sequestering. These are all critical activities to maintain the long term health of our ecosystems, and to protect our planet.
There are also areas where logging is a significant commercial activity, providing jobs for thousands of individuals, and providing hundreds of products that the public uses on a daily basis. In some areas, small scale logging can take place on a sustainable basis. This is especially true when the forests are managed properly, such as by harvesting only small portions of the available land base, and by replanting those areas immediately with a diverse species mix. While nobody likes to think of logging in a positive light, we have to recognize that using renewable resources in our lives is much better than using plastics and other materials that are not environmentally friendly.
Finally, a fourth major category of tree planting involves urban planning. The planting of various types of trees in urban centers is beneficial for many reasons. Trees make a city healthier, they make a city look better, and they help mitigate pollution. Studies have also shown that an urban landscape which features lots of trees leads to lower stress and higher happiness for residents of that city.
tentree is very actively involved in tree planting. We sponsor the planting of trees in several countries. Although we have some small projects relating to community outreach and urban planning, the majority of our projects are focused on rebuilding ecosystems, to prevent erosion, to create long-term animal habitat, and to help with carbon sequestering. We want to have a positive impact on the world around us. tentree is not involved in any reforestation projects associated with commercial logging.
Madagascar is one of the countries in which tentree is heavily involved. Over 80% of Madagascar has been deforested in the recent decades. Due to being an isolated island, Madagascar is home to many animals that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. Due to the destruction of their habitats, these animals face being endangered – or worse – extinct. The removal of mangrove trees along the coast has left the island nation vulnerable to storm surges and considerable erosion. Further inland, desertification has also taken its toll. Before we began planting here, things seemed rather bleak.
For some people, a tree planting program involves a few dozen trees. For others, a planting program can involve many thousands of trees. In next week’s blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the specifics of what a planting program can include, including some of the species that might be planted, and the technique for planting a tree.