Arbor month in South Africa

| 2nd September 2019
South African-based environmental organisation, Greenpop, calls for more tree planting action in response to recent studies.


South Africa celebrates Arbor month in September each year. It’s a month to focus on tree planting across the nation.

This September, local NGO Greenpop is launching a bold new tree planting goal in response to the recently released studies showing that tree planting is the best way to mitigate climate change.

Greenpop aims to plant 500,000 trees by 2025. 

Tree restoration

This Arbor month, help Greenpop launch this new goal. In the month of September 2019, they want to set their bold new goal in motion and raise 10 000 trees in 30 days.

Since 2010, Greenpop has planted trees and worked on environmental projects across sub-Saharan Africa. They have planted just over 115 000 trees in the last nine years in urban greening, reforestation and conservation agriculture projects.

Greenpop's focus has been on connecting people with the planet, engaging communities and inspiring environmental stewards.

On 28 March 2019, speakers at the General Assembly High-Level Meeting of the United Nations warned that we only have eleven years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change.

In addition, a recent study, published in the journal Science, entitled, The global tree restoration potential, stated: “[This research] highlights global tree restoration as our most effective climate change solution to date… Our results highlight the opportunity of climate change mitigation through global tree restoration but also the urgent need for action.

Developing skills

In response to the study, Damian Carrington wrote in The GuardianPlanting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas."

Prof Tom Crowther at the Swiss university ETH Zürich, who led the research intro tree restoration said: “This new quantitative evaluation shows [forest] restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one.”

In response to the above news, Greenpop aims to dramatically increase its tree planting over the next five years, with a bold new goal of 500 000 trees by 2025.

While this number is not large when compared to other organisations globally, Greenpop is committed to a holistic, contextually relevant approach which includes a strong focus on skills development and training for the communities that are the custodians for the trees, and robust monitoring and evaluation.

Restore ecosystems

Zoe Gauld-Angelucci, Greenpop Head of Programmes, said: “The drivers of forest degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa are multiple and compounding. From unregulated logging (often by foreign companies) to clearing for cash crops, to overuse of trees for fuel, human activity is putting increasing and devastating pressure on forest ecosystems.

For this reason, Greenpop's Collaborative Reforestation programme seeks not only to restore forest ecosystems through planting trees but also to provide additional interventions which address these contextual drivers.

By providing training in practices such as alternative livelihoods, woodlot management, and farmer-managed natural regeneration, alongside reforestation, our programme aims to decrease pressure on stressed ecosystems while assisting in accelerating their recovery.”

In addition to the obvious benefit of carbon sequestration through mass tree planting, forest restoration has the potential to restore our ecosystems, to improve the integrity of our soil, and to improve our water quality and quantity by supporting the hydrological cycle"

Collective action

Misha Teasdale, CEO of Greenpop, said: “We don’t have time to wait. Individuals, organisations, companies, and governments must take action. We have an opportunity now.

"There is a window to actively do something that can change the course of our existence. We can make history or let our inaction decide for us. We need to have a profound conversation outside of the old economic thinking.

"We need to talk and act on achieving a civilization that is in harmony with ecological systems. This year, the United Nations General Assembly announced that the next decade will be dedicated to the restoration of planetary ecosystem function. The time has come.”

It is clear that the time for waiting is over, and the time to take collective action has arrived.  We need to put pressure on world leaders to meet emission targets, we need to demand that financial institutions divest from fossil fuels, we need to hold businesses accountable for their impact, and we need to restore ecosystems.

This Article 

This article is based on a press release from Greenpop. This Arbor Month, help Greenpop launch its new goal. In the month of September 2019, they want to set their goal in motion and raise 10 000 trees in 30 days. One tree = a donation of ZAR120 (or £6.44 at the time of publication).


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