Tree study: Humankind has Destroyed Half of all Forests
Children and Youth are calling for the greatest afforestation project in human history.
A new Yale-led study has found that 9.5 billion trees are lost each year due to deforestation. This is despite the substantial afforestation efforts of the Billion Tree Campaign, which has planted 14.2 billion trees over the past eight years.
The study, which was initiated by Plant-for-the-Planet and published September 2nd, 2015, in the journal Nature, also estimates that there are 3.04 trillion trees on Earth, about 7.5 times more than previously estimated. But the total number of trees has plummeted by 45.8% since humans first began transforming the global landscape.
“This study spells out that we need the greatest afforestation effort in human history” says Paulina Sanchez Espinosa (21), president of Plant-for-the-Planet from Mexico. “Each tree sequesters 10 kg of CO2 per year, which makes afforestation the cheapest, simplest to implement and the only globally scalable method of carbon capture and storage.”
A further trillion (1000 billion) trees would sequester more than 1/4 of the CO2 emissions for which humankind is responsible, currently 36 billion metric-tons. The children and youth of Plant-for-the-Planet are therefore calling for wealthy people and companies, Heads of States as well as all individuals to join the Billion Tree Campaign. “One thousand multinational corporations and billionaires planting one billion trees each, would be enough to reach our goal of 1,000 billion trees by 2020”, stated Felix Finkbeiner (17), founder of Plant-for-the-Planet from Germany.
For the first time, this study provides a scientifically proven number of trees. “Trees are among the most prominent and critical organisms on Earth, yet we are only recently beginning to comprehend their global extent and distribution,” said Thomas Crowther, a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) and lead author of the study.
Study: “Mapping tree density at a global scale”
The Plant-for-the-Planet children and youth Initiative was founded in January 2007 and originated from a school report on the climate crisis by Felix Finkbeiner, then 9 years old. At the end of his presentation, Felix put forward the vision that children could plant one million trees in every country in the world to balance carbon emissions. In the years that followed, Plant-for-the-Planet evolved into a global movement. Today, some 100,000 children in 193 countries are committed to the goal. The movement understands its role as being an initiative of world citizens who are committed to climate justice in the sense of achieving an overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and a unified distribution of these emissions among all of humankind. Plant-for-the-Planet has had democratic structure since March 2011. It has one elected Global Board it consists of 14 children with representatives from over the world.
Since the children took over responsibility for the Billion Tree Campaign from UNEP in 2011, the children have set themselves a new goal of planting 1,000 billion trees worldwide by 2020. With such a giant CO2 storage facility, 10 billion tons of CO2 could be offset, buying us valuable time to permanently reduce our CO2 emissions (one tree can bind, on average, 10 kg of CO2 per year). If every global citizen plants 150 trees by 2020, then this goal will be met. The current tree-count can be followed on the Plant-for-the-Planet website, via our tree counter: http://www.plant-for-the-planet-billiontreecampaign.org/
So far over 14 billion trees have been planted across 193 countries. The worldwide communication campaign of the student initiative operates under the slogan “Stop talking. Start planting.”, and in 2010 was honored with a gold award in the social national/international category at the Effie awards for efficient communication. Plant-for-the-Planet is supported by the Global Marshall Plan, AVINA Foundation, the Club of Rome, and Leagas Delaney Hamburg. In Germany, Toyota, Develey Senf & Feinkost and Parador support the training of the children at Plant-for-the-Planet Academies.