In the first real show of a $6 billion commitment to reforest India, the country planted nearly 50 million trees in under 24 hours.
Suddenly, India’s goal of reducing pollution and reforesting 12% of the country doesn’t look nearly as far-fetched.
The 24-hour event took place last Monday, July 11th, where more than 800,000 people from Uttar Pradesh took part in planting trees around India’s northern states. The volunteers in total planted 49.3 million tree saplings from 80 different tree species, all sourced locally from nurseries in Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state made the Guinness World Records for the most trees planted in a single day, the previous record held by Pakistan, which planted 847,275 trees in a day in 2013.
The trees were planted along highways, railroad tracks, small roads, and publicly owned forests.
As part of the Paris Climate Agreement signed on Earth Day 2016, India designated $6.2 billion towards an afforestation effort across India to bring India’s forest cover to 235 million acres by 2030.
The central government has encouraged all of India’s states to take part in tree planting campaigns similar to Uttar Pradesh.
Other countries are also replanting trees.
In December, African nations pledged to reforest 100 million hectares. A wide range of stakeholders, from countries to companies, also signed on to the non-binding New York Declaration of Forests that month, with the goal of halving deforestation by 2020 and ending it by 2030. The declaration also seeks to restore at leat 350 million hectares of degraded land with healthy forests.
Still, the young trees aren’t out of the woods yet, so to speak. Saplings need water and care and are susceptible to disease. Experience shows mortality rates as high as 40 percent after such massive tree plantings.
Lack of water, disease, and the inability to care for all trees in the fragile few months after planting leads to the high mortality rate. The trees, and larger reforestation effort, will be monitored through aerial photography at regular intervals.