The idea of planting billions of trees to combat climate change — and counter the other effects of deforestation — has prompted questions about how such schemes might work. But a project in Ethopia has shown the way forward as they have made huge progress towards the goal of planting four billion indigenous trees by this October.
The planting of 1 billion hectares of trees — that’s 2,500,000,000,000 trees— to tackle climate change seemed like an almighty feat when it was suggested by a researcher earlier this month, but a valiant effort in Ethiopia has shown it might be possible.
In what is believed to be a new world record, the country yesterday planted more than 350 million trees. India is the current record-holder for planting 66 million trees across in 24 hours in 2017.
Led by Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, the project aims to counter the effects of deforestation and climate change, with the goal of planting a total of four billion indigenous trees by October.
Ethiopia’s forest coverage has declined from 35% of total land in the early 20th century to just over 4% in the 2000s. The deforestation is often attributed to rapid population growth, the need for more farmland and climate change.
Tree planting took place at 1,000 sites across the country under the Green Legacy scheme. Some public offices were shut down to allow civil servants to assist the project alongside members of the public, businesses and staff from the United Nations, African Union and foreign embassies.
‘Congratulations Ethiopia for not only meeting our collective Green Legacy but also exceeding it,’ tweeted the Office for the Prime Minister.
A total of 353,633,660 seedlings were planted, according to Ethiopia’s minster for innovation and technology, Getahun Mekuria.
Critics of Mr Abiy have said he is using the campaign to distract from the challenges his government is facing, including conflicts which have forced some 2.5 million people from their homes, according to the BBC.
Last month we shared research from the journal Science which stated that planting one billion hectares-worth of trees — as many as 2.5 trillion — ‘could help check global warming’.
‘Adding nearly 1 billion additional hectares of forest could remove two-thirds of the roughly 300 gigatons of carbon humans have added to the atmosphere since the 1800s,’ the report said.
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