Indian officials report that volunteers planted more than 49 million trees on a single day in 2016, surpassing the 2013 world record of 850,000 in Pakistan. An estimated 800,000 volunteers worked for 24 hours planting 80 species of saplings raised in local nurseries along roads, railways and other public land.
The effort is part of the commitment India made at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015. The country agreed to spend $6 billion to reforest 12 percent of its land and bring the total forest cover to 235 million acres by 2030, or about 29 percent of its territory.
Trees sequester carbon dioxide from the air and reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. India has experienced substantial loss of its forest cover in recent centuries as people cut down trees for firewood, pasture and development. Still, saplings need water and care and are susceptible to disease. Mortality rates can reach 40 percent after such massive tree plantings.
Other countries are also replanting trees. Last December, African nations pledged to reforest 100 million hectares (386 square miles). 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.
Source: National Geographic