Tree Planting World Record Set in Philippines

philippines sets tree planting record February 2011

Over 64,000 trees were planted in 15 minutes last Thursday, setting a world record for the largest number of trees being simultaneously planted (who counted the trees, I’m not sure, but the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed that everything was correct and the counting was accurate). The planting occurred in the province of Camrines Sur in the Philippines. Nearly 7,000 people engaged in the record-setting event.

The previous tree-planting record was set in India last year, where over 50,000 trees were planted. India also set the record last year for most trees planted in a single day, half a million! In general, a number of major countries — such as China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam — are focusing on reforesting their countries. “China has reportedly increased its forests by an unprecedented three million hectares per year,” Joanna Zelmand of HuffingtonPost reports.

Deforestation a Major Contributor to Climate Change

Overall, over 15-20% of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are due to deforestation. And, in an effort to protect these highly important forests, the United Nations (UN) has declared 2011 the International Years of Forests.

Massive Tree-Planting Effort in Philippines in 2011

This planting was part of a larger government-backed program to plant 12 million trees in the region’s severely threatened forests by next year. This planting was the launch of that effort. Philippine forests, which have seen their original habitat reduced by 93%, are considered to be amongst the top 10 most-threatened forests in the world according to Conservation International and much is needed to protect them. (Note: each of these 10 forests have lost at least 90% of their original habitat yet they each still house 1500 unique plant species not found anywhere else in the world).

Tree Planting vs Protecting Old-Growth Forests

While massive tree-planting efforts are needed and helpful, do they really counteract the negative ramifications of cutting down old-growth forests?

Beyond climate change, approximately 80% of the world’s land biodiversity exists in forests (which cover just about 30% of the world’s surface). Additional, forests are extremely important for providing us all with clean water and in erosion control.

“Forests must be seen as more than just a group of trees,” Conservation International’s head of international policy, Olivier Langrand, said.

“Forests already play an enormous economic role in the development of many countries as a source of timber, food, shelter and recreation, and have an even greater potential that needs to be realised in terms of water provision, erosion prevention and carbon sequestration.”

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Photo Credits: AFPleoffreitas

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