Ethiopia plants four billion trees over the summer
Ethiopia planted more than four billion trees over this year’s northern summer. This truly impressive feat was achieved after the government launched a national tree-planting campaign to encourage the country’s 105 million people to plant at least 40 seedlings each at 1,000 sites across the country. In July, the “Green Legacy” initiative attracted worldwide attention when 350 million seedlings were planted in just 12 hours — a new world record.
Dan Ridley-Ellis, who studies wood at Edinburgh Napier University, told The Guardian the project would deliver immense benefits. “Trees not only help mitigate climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air, but they also have huge benefits in combating desertification and land degradation, particularly in arid countries. They also provide food, shelter, fuel, fodder, medicine, materials and protection of the water supply,” he said.
Ethiopia’s government felt compelled to act when the area of forested land fell below 14 percent; in the early part of the 20th century, around 40 percent of the north-eastern African nation was forested. The Global Green Growth Institute says the government’s response “demonstrates how leadership, coordination and joint efforts can make a difference on a pertinent issue. The action has been landmark and exemplary.”