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Tutorial

Tree Planting towards Climate Sustainability

9th Jul 2013

Original author: Olusoga Sofolahan, Nigeria

Abstract
Tree Campaign is a worldwide tree planting initiative facilitated by the United Nations Environment Program. People, communities, businesses, industry, civil society organizations and governments are encouraged to enter tree planting pledges on-line. The campaign strongly encourages the planting of indigenous trees and trees that are appropriate to the local environment.

Tutorial
Tree Planting towards Climate Sustainability

TREES PLANTING TOWARDS CLIMATE SUSTAINABILITY:

A VIABLE MESSENGERS OF PEACE PROGRAM

Compiled by: Olusoga Sofolahan-Atibioke (Olori Omo-Oba)(LT/MT)

Lead Program Coordinator, Messengers of Peace Nigeria Pilot Training Team

Convocation

Peace is not only the absence of War, but your relationship with Nature and your Environment – LBP.

Tree Campaign is a worldwide tree planting initiative facilitated by the United Nations Environment Program. People, communities, businesses, industry, civil society organizations and governments are encouraged to enter tree planting pledges on-line. The campaign strongly encourages the planting of indigenous trees and trees that are appropriate to the local environment.

By the end of 2009, more than 7.4 billion trees had been planted under this campaign – far in excess of the year-end target of 7 billion – by participants in 170 countries. With this success continuing into 2015, the Billion Tree Campaign has made a substantial contribution to the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity for our well-being.

Trees play a crucial role as fundamental components of the biodiversity that forms the foundation of the living networks and systems that provide us all with health, wealth, food, fuel and vital ecosystem services our lives depend on. They help provide breathable air, drinkable water, fertile soils and a stable climate. The billions of trees planted by the collective efforts of participants of the Billion Tree Campaign from all parts of society will contribute to biodiversity across the planet.

In 2007, a year of “planetary emergency”, when global warming was widely recognized as the defining issue of our era, the Billion Tree Campaign came to symbolize the readiness of people everywhere to work to protect our climate and collective home.

Inspired by the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first United Nations global tree-planting campaign was met with more enthusiasm than anyone could have predicted. After its launch in November 2006, word of the Campaign spread rapidly and partners joined the initiative with remarkable speed.

The original goal of gathering a billion pledges in one year was exceeded in just five months. The billionth tree was in the ground in November 2007. By the end of January 2008, nearly 2.38 billion trees had been pledged and more than 1.8 billion planted.

Trees are more significant than many of us might imagine. They commemorate births and lives lived. They beautify slums, farms and grand avenues. They provide shade, oxygen, and delight. They cool the Earth.

Some of the seedlings we plant will restore springs long dry, prevent soil erosion and create fertilizer to boost harvests. Others will break the Sahara winds, halting the spread of desert sand dunes. Countless more will provide food for people, in rural areas and cities alike. Some will supply forage for livestock and for insects that pollinate crops. Many will produce wood and natural oils for building and for fuel. Yet others will be used to create medicines to heal the human body and essential oils to ease the soul.

All will draw carbon dioxide from the air, leaving us a little less vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change.

A Call to Action

Historically, forests have all too often been viewed simply as sources of timber for fuel or for activities like construction or ship building. However, the wider importance of these ecosystems is now increasingly understood.

The goods and services provided by forests are worth billions if not trillions of dollars to the global economy. They range from goods and services linked with water supplies, stabilization of soils, purifying the air that we breathe, sustaining biodiversity and tourism, to providing genetic resources and natural medicines. Forests are also natural and economically important ‘sinks’, sequestrating carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away in trunks and branches. Economics cannot capture all of the benefits that forests provide, from the beauty and spiritual value of the old and cherished village tree, the much?loved and productive community woodland, to the monumental and mystical tropical rainforest. Globally, there is at least one third less forest cover than there once was. It is time to reverse the trends, it is time to act. Sustainably managing ancient and old-growth forests and avoiding deforestation must be our watchwords.
Old growth and pristine forests are the natural world’s equivalents of the great edifices, sculptures and old masters of the human world. It is also in our wider interests to restore, reforest and recapture the lost and degraded forest and woodland ecosystems that have, all too often, fallen victim to short-term and narrow economic interests.
The Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign is an engine for voluntary expressions of solidarity. It is inclusive and open to everyone, from governments and businesses to community groups and individuals.
The Billion Tree Campaign is a mere acorn, but it can provide a significant and straightforward expression of our common determination to make a tangible difference in developing and developed countries alike Climate change confronts us now.
There is no longer conjecture or debate around an abstract or hypothetical future. We need action. We need to plant trees and in so doing send a signal to the corridors of political power across the globe that the watching and waiting is over, that countering climate change can take root via one billion small but significant acts in our gardens, parks, countryside and rural areas

The Climate Connection

The Earth’s early forests pulled enormous amounts of carbon from the air. Over centuries, much of that carbon was transformed into fossil fuels. By burning massive quantities of coal and oil, we are now rapidly reversing that process, returning carbon to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

When forests are destroyed, their carbon is released. In fact, deforestation accounts for over 20 per cent of the carbon dioxide humans generate, rivaling the emissions of cars, trucks and planes. Because of the excess carbon dioxide, the atmosphere now traps an increasing amount of heat from the sun, causing the Earth’s temperature to rise.

The planetary fever is disrupting growing seasons, contributing to drought and floods, disrupting rivers, causing glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise, and increasing the severity of hurricanes and other “natural” disasters.

Today’s trees and forests play a vital role in regulating the climate since they absorb carbon dioxide. Scientists estimate that forests – including living trees, deadwood, litter and soil – contain approximately 50 per cent more carbon than the atmosphere!

When forests are destroyed, their carbon is released. In fact, deforestation accounts for over 20 per cent of the carbon dioxide humans generate, rivaling the emissions of cars, trucks and planes.

Gifts of the Trees

Depending on the location and size of its trees, one hectare of forest can absorb approximately six tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. In addition to climate change mitigation, trees offer myriad rewards.

Oxygen: Depending on its type, one mature tree can release enough oxygen for a family of four.

Biodiversity: The vast majority of land animals and plants live in forests. Although tropical rainforests cover only about 5 per cent of the land on Earth, they are host to around half of the world’s animal and plant species. Experts estimate that if deforestation continues at the present rate, millions of plant and animal species will be lost forever by 2050.

Cultural icons: Trees symbolize human aspirations, continuity between the generations, a link between Earth and heaven. In many traditions, they are believed to shelter spirits and the souls of ancestors. Many peoples plant trees to mark births and deaths.

Soil and fresh water: More than two billion people (nearly a third of humanity) rely on wooded areas to protect their water. In places where webs of tree roots bind the soil and a canopy of leaves breaks downpours of rain into gentle showers, rain percolates through the soil into underground aquifers and feeds streams and rivers.

Deforested regions, however, can lose as much as 90 per cent of their rainwater since, instead of seeping into the ground, it surges directly towards the ocean. Torrents of rainwater erode tones of topsoil, carving out gullies and sometimes washing away settlements and farms.

Psychology: While it may seem obvious, the restorative power of trees is only now being studied scientifically. Recent research confirms that playing outdoors measurably increases a child’s health and attention span. People who can see a tree from their workplace demonstrate higher productivity than those who cannot.

Comments
Cynthia Marquez, El Salvador
Hi Olusoga. Thank you so much for this content. I want to suport you to get this tutorial more friendly. please send me a message so we can start coordinating.