Trillion Tree Campaign

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The Trillion Tree Campaign is a project announced at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos which aims to plant one trillion trees worldwide by the end of the decade.[1] It is looking to repopulate the world's trees and combat climate change as a nature-based solution.

The campaign is a continuation of the activities of the earlier Billion Tree Campaign, instigated by Wangari Maathai, who founded the Green Belt Movement in Africa in 1977.


The Green Belt Movement began its activity in Africa in 1977, eventually planting more than 30 million trees.[2] The Billion Tree Campaign was launched in 2006 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as a response to the challenges of climate change, as well as to a wider array of sustainability challenges from water supply to biodiversity loss,[3][failed verification] and achieved the initial target of planting a billion trees in 2007.[4] In 2008, the campaign's objective was raised to 7 billion trees – surpassed three months before its target of the climate change conference that was held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009. Felix Finkbeiner addressed the United Nations in a  speech to open the International Year of Forests 2011, saying: "It is now time that we work together. We combine our forces, old and young, rich and poor; and together, we can plant a trillion trees. We can start the Trillion Tree Campaign."[5] In December 2011, after more than 12 billion trees had been planted, UNEP formally handed management of the program to the youth-led not-for-profit Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation (an organisation that had been participating in the Billion Tree Campaign since 2007), based in Tutzing, Germany. Momentum has since continued, with 40,000 young ambassadors spreading the message in over 100 countries.[6]

In 2017, Pakistan's Billion Tree Tsunami restored 350,000 hectares of forests.[7]

By 2020, the Plant-for-the-Planet app had been released under an open-source license, and allowed users to register planted trees or to plant trees by donating to different tree-planting organizations around the world.[8] The foundation does not take any commissions for donations made through the campaign.[9]

One Trillion Tree initiative[edit]

In 2015, there were about 3 trillion trees in the world[10] and later it was also estimated that planting 1.2 trillion more trees would counteract 10 years of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.[11]

The 2020 World Economic Forum, held in Davos, announced the creation of the One Trillion Tree Initiative platform for governments, businesses, and civil society to provide support to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2020-2030), led by UNEP and FAO. Forum participant Donald Trump, president of the United States, announced that the government of the U.S. would commit to the initiative. [12]


The Billion Tree Campaign was inspired by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement. When an executive in the United States told Professor Maathai their corporation was planning to plant a million trees, her response was: "That’s great, but what we really need is to plant a billion trees."[13] The campaign was carried out under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco.[14]

"It's the little things citizens do. That's what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees." – Wangari Maathai


  • Cutting fossil fuel emissions is more important.
  • Conserve existing ecosystems.
  • Restoration must be socially and ecologically responsible.[15]


Under UNEP's leadership and through proactive advocacy by patrons and the partners, the Billion Tree Campaign has catalysed tree planting action on all continents. The billionth tree, an African Olive, was planted in Ethiopia in November 2007.[16] The 2-billionth tree took root as part of the United Nation's World Food Programme agroforestry initiative. The campaign's target was then raised to seven billion trees.[17] In 2009, UNEP mobilized action across the globe through the Twitter for Trees campaign. UNEP pledged to plant one tree to feed into the Billion Tree Campaign, for every follower who joined from 5 May 2009 to World Environment Day on 5 June 2009. The campaign was a success, with 10,300 people following the page by World Environment Day weekend.[18]

The World Organization of the Scout Movement also planted trees under the campaign, in line with its mandate to study and protect nature across several countries.[19]

United Nations Peacekeeping missions also joined the campaign and planted trees with its field missions in East Timor, Ivory Coast, Darfur, Lebanon, Haiti, Congo, and Liberia, among other missions.[20]

As of 4 February 2020, 13.6 billion trees have been planted worldwide.[21]

Quote from UNEP[edit]

"Looking back over the Billion Tree Campaign’s greatest successes, what is most remarkable is not its scale, but its spread. People from all around the world have enthusiastically joined the campaign and planted trees in their own communities." – Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "One trillion trees - uniting the world to save forests and climate". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  2. ^ Simon N Gosling (2012) — Sustainability: The Geography Perspective, 13th page of chapter 6, University of Nottingham January 2013, — accessed 2020-1-25
  3. ^ "Commit to Action – Join the Billion Tree Campaign!". Archived from the original on 15 December 2014.
  4. ^ (content retrieved 13 June 2007 & 28 March 2016, source added 22 August 2013 (14:16)): link content unavailable - "Plant for the Planet"., (alternative source added): Achim Steiner (UNEP), in, Alister Doyle — More than 1 billion trees planted in 2007: U.N., Reuters 28 November 2007 - accessed 2020-1-23 (using "one billion trees in 2007 (achieved by November" with (google)
  5. ^ Felix Finkbeiner addresses United Nations with speech to open the International Year of Forests 2011, retrieved 22 January 2020
  6. ^ UNEP. (7 December 2011). "UNEP Billion Tree Campaign Hands Over to the Young People of the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation." Accessed: 26 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Pakistan's Billion Tree Tsunami restores 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land to surpass Bonn Challenge commitment". IUCN. 11 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Tree-planting programs turn to tech solutions to track effectiveness". Mongabay Environmental News. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Plant-for-the-Planet". Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  10. ^
    • (Crowther, Glick, Covey et al) "..approximately 3.04 trillion...", (Ehrenberg, using Crowther, Glick, Covey et al): " roughly 3 trillion trees on Earth"
    • T. W. Crowther, H. B. Glick, K. R. Covey, C. Bettigole, D. S. Maynard, S. M. Thomas, J. R. Smith, G. Hintler, M. C. Duguid, G. Amatulli, M.-N. Tuanmu, W. Jetz, C. Salas, C. Stam, D. Piotto, R. Tavani, S. Green, G. Bruce, S. J. Williams, S. K. Wiser, M. O. Huber, G. M. Hengeveld, G.-J. Nabuurs, E. Tikhonova, P. Borchardt, C.-F. Li, L. W. Powrie, M. Fischer, A. Hemp, J. Homeier, P. Cho, A. C. Vibrans, P. M. Umunay, S. L. Piao, C. W. Rowe, M. S. Ashton, P. R. Crane & M. A. Bradford (2015) — Mapping tree density at a global scale, Nature 525, 201–205 (2 September 2015) - accessed 2020-1-23
    • Crowther, Glick, Covey et al, Rachel Ehrenberg — Global count reaches 3 trillion trees, Nature 2 September 2015, doi:10.1038/nature.2015.18287 - re-access made 2020-1-23
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^, Cstraight Media-. "The Green Belt Movement".
  14. ^ "Billion Tree Campaign - Green Earth Appeal".
  15. ^ Letters (21 February 2020). "Backing the trillion tree campaign to combat climate crisis | Letter". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  16. ^ "UN Billion Tree Campaign".
  17. ^ "UNEP Billion Tree Campaign Hands Over to the Young People of the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation".
  18. ^ (this source opens to 403 Forbidden - @ access made 2020-1-24)
  19. ^ "Your Planet Needs You! Unite to Combat Climate Change on World Environment Day". Archived from the original on 22 August 2013.
  20. ^ "Tree Planting Campaign Hits Four Billion Mark".
  21. ^ "The Trillion Tree Campaign". Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  22. ^ UNEP (2011). "UNEP Billion Tree Campaign Press Release" (PDF).


External links[edit]