What are the right trees in the right places?
Trillion Trees advocates that the right trees should be in the right places. But what does that mean?
First, native standing forests should stay that way. They’re already in the right place! That’s why we work to protect forests and address the underlying drivers of deforestation while promoting forest-positive socioeconomic development.
When it comes to forest restoration IUCN’s principles of forest landscape restoration guide our work, and should be taken into account, whether you are planting one or 1 million trees.
Our projects are designed for long-term sustainability – economically, socially and ecologically – to create or restore multiple benefits for people, climate and nature. We prioritise conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems, as these are most likely to provide the nature-based solutions to climate and other challenges we seek to tackle, such as biodiversity loss and sustainable development goals.
We focus on entire landscapes, taking into account the land use dynamics around the restoration area, as well as in it.
Stakeholders are engaged early on and throughout the process, and we don’t move forward without consent and participation. All our work is tailored to the local context using appropriate methods (e.g. natural regeneration, planting, both), and local people and other stakeholders are included in decision making that affects their lands and their livelihoods.
It is also important to remember that tree-planting is just one tool for restoration. In fact, we believe that natural regeneration should be prioritized where possible. It is the most cost effective approach, and encourages native plant diversity to thrive, which is better for wildlife, climate and people. However, assisted natural regeneration or tree planting may be necessary where land is extremely degraded or other factors prevent forest from naturally regrowing.
Where tree planting is required, our preference is for native species with representative levels of genetic diversity. Any tree planting should not replace important and healthy natural ecosystems, such as grasslands. Non-native species may be appropriate where there is a clear socio-economic, ecological, or climatic reason. For example, in some places, non-native fruit or high value timber species provide socio-economic benefits that enable more forest-positive development in a landscape overall. However, diligence and care is essential to prevent these species from being introduced into conservation areas, or the replacement of native forest with exotic species. Any non-native species considered for planting should be known and widely tested in the region, and negative environmental impacts must be mitigated. Plantations should never replace natural forests or other natural ecosystems like grasslands, wetlands and peatlands.
For more information about specific restoration initiatives, please see our Landscape Ventures or the Reforest Fund. If you are interested in planting trees in your community, we recommend getting in touch with a local organization or plant nursery in your community who can advise you about the right trees for YOUR place!
Can we achieve our vision alone?
No, our vision is a global one. It requires commitment and action from governments, businesses, non-government organisations, communities, and individuals all across the world, many of whom are already pursuing similar goals. Our role is to add to this collective effort, by working in landscapes and regions to drive real change on the ground, by demonstrating approaches that others can replicate, and by inspiring sectoral change.
Why do we need more trees?
Now, more than ever, we need trees. Protecting forests and restoring trees to degraded forest landscapes has multiple benefits, including reducing carbon in our atmosphere – a major contributor to global climate change – providing habitat for wildlife and protecting biodiversity, supporting local communities and providing sustainable incomes from timber and non-timber products, providing ecosystem services, such as water regulation and supply, and making landscapes more resilient to climate change.
Maintaining and increasing the carbon storage and absorption that landscapes provide – in large part through tree cover – is an essential component of slowing climate change before temperatures rise to dangerous levels. To that end, trees and forests will be essential to meet the targets set in the 2015 UN Paris Agreement on climate change.
Why a trillion trees?
There were once six trillion trees on the planet. Now there are only three trillion and we’re still losing ten billion trees per year – equivalent to losing the whole of the Amazon in the next forty years! The scale of the problem calls for radical action. Protecting and restoring one trillion trees can reverse this trend, and create a world where forests are expanding and not shrinking. This is an ambitious yet achievable vision and requires concerted action across our three main strategies of halting deforestation, improving forest protection and advancing restoration. Ultimately, we need to guard all three trillion trees and new trees added through restoration against future threats.
This is essential to delivering on the Paris Agreement to avoid dangerous climate change, to restoring nature and the biodiversity we depend on, and to securing a prosperous future for us all.
Are we planting one trillion trees?
No. Planting trees is just one approach we will take. We aim to reduce deforestation, improve forest protection and advance restoration. Restoration involves both tree planting and natural forest regeneration, with strategies determined by the local context. In most settings, this will involve promoting native species in mixed stands, as similar as possible to natural forests and, where feasible, achieved through assisted natural regeneration to minimise costs and maximise the environmental value. In other cases, there will be significant benefits from planting trees in agricultural landscapes (for example in woodlots or through agroforestry). This can provide sustainable fuel, food and fibre – supporting livelihood benefits and reducing pressure on natural forests – and can improve the sustainability and resilience of agricultural production.
Can Trillion Trees fund your programme?
Currently, Trillion Trees cannot offer funding to other organisations and focuses on supporting and leveraging funds for our field programmes, partner organisations and country offices and their in-country partners.
Why are BirdLife International, Wildlife Conservation Society, and WWF teaming up for forests?
As global conservation organisations, we share an ambition for a world with healthy, thriving forests and rural communities. By working together, we can combine our reach, resources and expertise to unlock more support for the world’s forests. Collectively, we can aim higher, in specific landscapes as well as globally.
Together, our decentralised organisations work in over 100 countries around the world with many partners. This partnership enables us to collaborate in the UK, from where Trillion Trees is led, as well as in countries and regions where our partner organisations, offices and field programmes have many shared interests.
How do we work with communities and indigenous peoples and ensure human rights are at the centre of our approaches?
All Trillion Trees partners are committed to and founding members of the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights. This recognises our responsibility to address and be accountable for the social effects of our work and establishes a common set of principles that we are committed to follow.
One of our priority approaches in protecting and restoring forests is to help indigenous peoples and local communities to formalise their rights to forest land, to manage forests sustainably, and to benefit from them. Please visit the Trillion Trees partner organisation websites for more information on our individual policies and safeguarding practices, and our commitments to people and inclusive conservation.
- BirdLife: Conservation and Rights
- WCS: Conservation and Human Rights
- WWF: Environmental and Social Safeguards
If you have questions regarding our commitment to human rights or our approach to working with communities and indigenous peoples, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will you count a trillion trees?
Our partnership will focus on counting trees as an indication of ambition and progress in our ventures at the landscape and regional level. Estimates of tree numbers will also demonstrate the contribution that sectoral changes can make to the global trajectory of tree cover loss. Forests are complex and remarkable ecosystems that cannot be summed up by a number of trees alone; however, this provides an excellent starting point for understanding the state of the world’s forests. In addition, thinking about the number of trees allows us to consider trees outside of forests, such as on farms or in cities, which also provide exceptional value.
How is Trillion Trees funded?
Trillion Trees has core funding from Restore Our Planet for the first phase (2017-2021). This is being used to provide direct support to field programmes and to leverage additional funds to support landscape ventures and sectoral change initiatives.