Can we plant a trillion trees?

Rescue Earth System

Planting a trillion trees seems like an impossible task yet it is one of the easiest ways to start the regenerative restoration process in many of Earth’s degraded ecosystems. Even though restoring forest land is at the core of the trillion tree initiative, there are many ways to use trees that benefit natural ecosystems, food production and communities.

Yes! We definitely can plant a trillion trees — and we can do it in five years! To achieve this, we would have to use a diverse array of planting techniques. Relatively, only a few plants planted will be traditional nursery styled plants-in-a-bag type. Most of the trees will be planted as young ‘forestry-styled’ seedlings or by shallow burying of micro-organism inoculated seeds in predetermined GPS locations.

To ensure that most planted seeds germinate, and that they have a good chance of becoming adult trees, seeds are coated with a biologically activated compost & clay mix produced using local clay, local compost materials and local microbes (Indigenous Micro-organisms — IMOs). Seedlings and bagged trees are also planted with a handful of the biologically active IMO compost.

Most degraded soils are lacking in micro-organisms and micronutrients. The addition of biologically active IMO compost to the root zone (rhizosphere) ensures that the trees get just enough micronutrients for a good start and a diverse microbe community to ensure a productive symbiotic future.

The association between the emerging plant rootlets and the Mycorrhizal Fungi is established at the very beginning of plant growth. This beneficial cooperation lasts the plant’s entire lifetime and helps to create better root systems, resulting in greater vigour, higher resistance to drought and more abundant flowering and seed / leaf production.

Only the trees that have survived the first two years will count. All trees GPS locations, together with other relevant data, are added to a GIS / data platform that is being developed in co-operation with a group of International Organisations. Trees can be located and monitored throughout their lives using an app on a mobile phone. Dead trees are removed from the database.

This article is about whether we can plant a trillion trees in 5 years. Other relevant articles discuss the reasons why we should be doing this will be coming soon.

  • The biotic pump theory of forests — and their effect on weather patterns.
  • Carbon sequestration by trees — the role trees can play.
  • Photosynthesis is endothermic — can we use it to cool the planet?
  • Soil undercover — the many benefits of mulches and plant covers.
  • Carbon belongs in the soil — producing food and saving the planet.
  • The hydrological cycle — the role of plants and whole ecosystems.
  • Safe enough to drink — but it will kill you slowly!
  • Organic farmers don’t wear suits — because they don’t need them.

About 20% of global citizens are concerned enough to give up their time for a good cause. If around 20% of the 5 Billion over 16 years-of-age population are willing to volunteer to plant trees we will have 1 Billion free workers! The 1 Billion volunteers will only need to plant an average of 1,000 trees each. This is a very achievable target of less than 5 trees per week over the 5 years.

An average person can easily plant more than 100 trees a day. Ten volunteers can plant over a thousand trees a day, especially if they work as a team. When planted as group of trees in a landscape, each tree needs about an hour of cumulative work (time) in planting and extended care. Over a two year intervention phase, 1,000 trees would thus require around 1,000 hours or 200 hours per year — 25 days per volunteer per year for 5 years.

This is a tough ask but not impossible especially when one considers that communities accross the globe are planting millions of trees in a day!

Ethiopia plants more than 353 million trees in 12 Hours

Ethiopia planted more than 353 million trees in 12 hours on Monday, which officials believe is a world record.

The burst of tree planting was part of a wider reforestation campaign named “Green Legacy,” spearheaded by the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Millions of Ethiopians across the country were invited to take part in the challenge and within the first six hours, Ahmed tweeted that around 150 million trees had been planted.

“We’re halfway to our goal,” he said and encouraged Ethiopians to “build on the momentum in the remaining hours.” After the 12-hour period ended, the Prime Minister took to Twitter again to announce that Ethiopia not only met its “collective #GreenLegacy goal,” but exceeded it.

A total of 353,633,660 tree seedlings had been planted, the country’s minster for innovation and technology, Getahun Mekuria, tweeted.

A Global Reforestation Initiative

There are many organisations throughout the world that are working hard to reach the trillion tree target. Good examples are: (1) Trillion Trees Western Australia (2) Trillion Trees — a collaboration between three of the world’s largest conservation organisations, WWF, WCS & BirdLife International — (3) The Great Green Wall and (4) The Trillion Tree Campaign — watch the videos below!

Please Note: The Rescue Earth System does not have any projects of its own. It is a collaborative platform where approved causes can list their projects so that they can attract volunteers and funding. Causes include: NGOs, NPOs, CBOs, etc. The many stand-alone projects in the Rescue Earth System are mostly listed by individuals. Stand-alone projects may not receive any funding from ads 4 a cause.  Only officially registered causes (and their projects) can receive funding via the ads 4 a cause platform. All projects are approved by a peer review system.



At the National Geographic’s Explorers Festival in Washington, Felix Finkbeiner talks about how to save our planet by planting trees. Felix founded Plant-for-the-Planet when he was nine years old.


The Great Green Wall is taking root in Africa’s Sahel region, at the southern edge of the Sahara desert – one of the poorest places on the planet.

The Great Green Wall isn’t just for the Sahel. It is a global symbol for humanity overcoming its biggest threat – our rapidly degrading environment.

It shows that if we can work with nature, even in challenging places like the Sahel, we can overcome adversity, and build a better world for generations to come.


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