It Takes a Global Village to Plant and Manage a Trillion Trees
Author: Dr. John A. Stanturf
John Stanturf is a Visiting Professor at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia, and Senior Restoration Specialist at InNovaSilva, Vejle, Denmark.
He is Deputy Coordinator of the IUFRO Task Force on “Transforming Forest Landscapes for Future Climates and Human Well-Being”.
Tree planting to combat climate change is wildly popular. Several countries and many organizations talk about planting billions or trillions of seedlings. Contrary viewpoints have also hit the popular press and scientific journals, pointing out that the need to reduce GHG emissions still remains the greatest challenge. Overlooked in many of these high profile news items is the reality that tree planting is not a simple activity; to be successful, we must plant the right trees, in the right places, at the proper time for young seedlings to prosper, grow, and eventually provide multiple benefits including biodiversity. Because it takes several decades until restored forests reach desired carbon sequestration levels, long-term management of forests and trees is key. And establishing new forests is even more complicated; successful tree planting requires planting stock grown with specific traits to meet the challenges of particular sites and the restoration objectives. Focusing only on planting ignores everything that is needed to get to the point of planting seedlings, including seed collection, processing, and nursery practices through to caring for seedlings after planting.