Many of us now know that tree planting plays an important role in keeping our planet alive. But, only a few understand the purpose of planting trees right.
Because trees act as the lungs of the planet, it is not surprising that tree planting continues to gain popularity. Especially as one of the leading answers to climate change and regeneration.
However, growing a forest goes beyond just tree cultivation. Planting right always takes into account the costs, resources, and long-term effects of forest conservation.
These are some ideas to consider when planting trees for long-term benefits:
Planting trees in the right place for the right purpose.
Planting right means cultivating the right species for the right purpose and in the right place. This can be further broken down into the following important points;
- Contrary to popular opinion, not all tree-planting projects are helpful. Because some tree planting activities can harm the environment. Therefore, planting trees right requires us to plan forest regeneration with intention and purpose.
- Climate scientists encourage us to plant trees native to a particular region. Because this method is better than the “assisted natural regeneration” process which uses invasive (non-indigenous) tree species. Invasive species are known to negatively impact local soils and plant life.
- Maintaining the variety of trees during regeneration. Often, organizations plant only one tree specie resulting in mono-plantations. However, this planting approach works only for economic interests not environmental concerns. For example, trees like Teak and Eucalyptus serve the lumbering industry rather than ecological needs.
- Finally, there cannot be a general approach to planting trees. Because each ecosystem is unique in its own way. Planting recklessly can lead to trees dying early. And decaying wood may in turn become a source of carbon emissions. For instance, this failed Turkish project is an example of tree-planting going wrong.
Tracking and monitoring tree growth
Planting trees is not enough. Measuring tree growth has to be consistent too. Because it is important to track the growth of trees beyond the early stages and the ecological impact in the long term.
In an earlier article, we hinted at the importance of monitoring trees for their potential impact over time. Certainly, the ability to monitor forest maturity helps to measure the impact in carbon equivalent terms. And such measurements can help us achieve our Paris Agreement climate targets.
Tracking tree growth helps donors and stakeholders to monitor progress and identify credible partners. Global Mangrove Trust is one of such organizations. It was created by our co-founders (Ryan Merrill, PhD and Simon JD Schillbeeckx, PhD). And they are currently working with Marex, OxCarbon and Kumi Analytics on space-based carbon tracking.
Planting trees with local communities
For tree planting to work in the long run, it has to be local. This means that people who live around forests should participate in preserving them.
Studies have shown that involving farmers and rural dwellers speeds up forest planting projects. Moreover, a 2016 report by the UN found that rural farmers are capable of managing forests successfully. Therefore, we have to listen to local communities and create the right incentives for them to contribute.
Farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) is an example of how farming communities can get involved in tree planting. FMNR focuses on the re-growth of trees and shrubs from stumps and roots instead of seeds. Above all, it brings economic development in rural communities while protecting the native plant life.
Engaging local communities also helps in sourcing for local seedlings. Getting native tree seedlings might be difficult without input from local farmers. Thus, cooperation is key to achieving tree variety.
Handprint’s partnership with KENVO
Handprint already supports restoration projects that meets the criteria above. The recent partnership between Handprint and KENVO, a Kenyan organization stands as our pledge to planting trees right.
KENVO has a mission to carry out tree planting projects in the Kikuyu Escarpment Forest. And by involving local farmers in the process, KENVO is protecting forests nearby from losing trees.
KENVO’s grassroots approach makes it a natural ally to Handprint’s mission. For instance, KENVO guarantees the presence of native trees in the Kereita forest by purchasing seedlings from local farmers. This is an example of how local communities grow with the planet.
Finally, KENVO assists the local communities in learning the best forestry practices and why it is good for nature. To appreciate their work, UNDP awarded KENVO with the popular Equator Prize. You can learn more about KENVO from their website and this video.
Handprint remains a reliable partner to sustainable brands and customers who share the vision for a better planet. Take the first step in the journey of helping our planet today by learning more about Handprint’s solution.