The Earth is home to over three trillion trees. This number is so large that it’s almost impossible to fully grasp. By comparison, the Amazon Rainforest, which comprises over half of the Earth’s remaining rainforests, is home to about 390 billion trees, or 13 percent of the world’s trees.
By those numbers, it may seem like the Earth is full of trees. But the reality is that we have lost 80 percent of the world’s trees to logging, clearcutting, burning, and environmental degradation, according to data from the organization One Tree Planted. Yet, trees are essential to supporting life on Earth. Here are a few reasons why:
The Importance of Forests
- 80% of world’s plants and animals live in forests and are dependent on forests to survive.
- 1 in 5 people globally depend on forests to earn their living.
- 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere are the result of tropical forest destruction.
- Trees are essential to a healthy water cycle: They collect water in their roots and release it into the atmosphere, thus helping to prevent the planet from drying out.
- Planting 500 billion new trees could help reduce carbon in the atmosphere by 25 percent, thus lessening the impacts of climate change.
Because forests are so critically important to sustaining life on Earth, a number of new initiatives are underway to help and motivate people to plant more trees. One such campaign is the Billion Tree Campaign, which is managed by the nonprofit Plant for the Planet Foundation. The global organization has been educating and inspiring people to plant more trees around the world since 2007. New research revealed that planting one trillion trees could cancel out the last 10 years of anthropogenic CO2 emissions and sequester 160 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere.
Plant for the Planet has a web app with cool features that encourage people to plant trees, such as:
- Letting you register the trees you’ve planted, sharing photos, and more
- Gifting trees planted to others
- Seeing where trees that you’ve donated to support are planted
- Setting up tree planting competitions
Here’s a video from Plant for the Planet:
Countries that Have Planted the Most Trees
With many initiatives around the world that are planting trees, which countries are doing the best job? According to Plant for the Planet’s World Tree Map, below is the ranking of the top 100 countries in terms of how many trees they’ve planted in just the last year. (You can also see which organizations, companies, schools, and individuals have planted the most trees.)
|64||United Arab Emirates||4,225,576|
Data: Plant for the Planet.
Let’s do this!