According to a report on ‘The State of the World’s Trees’ published in September 2021 by the British non-profit organisation Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), nearly a third of the world’s species are currently threatened with extinction. The situation is alarming: climate change and deforestation are the greatest dangers facing trees. However, these natural wonders are essential to our quality of life and tree-planting initiatives have never been more essential. But why is planting trees so important? What benefits do they provide? This article will help you gain a better understanding of their significance in our daily lives and contribute to reforestation in an informed way.
Planting trees: a response to environmental issues
Trees receive enough energy through sunlight to perform photosynthesis. With the help of water drawn from the soil and chlorophyll (a chemical substance contained in their leaves), they extract carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and discharge oxygen into the atmosphere. They therefore purify the air without which we could not live.
Contributors in the fight against climate change
Trees are actively involved in regulating temperature differences. They release water vapour into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration, influencing local humidity levels and thus helping to temper extreme climate variations. Thanks to their ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), trees also help to reduce the greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming.
Allies against pollution
Acting like botanical lungs, certain trees can absorb limited amounts of polluting gases and suspended particles. These benefits make them particularly useful environmental purifiers in urban areas. They cleanse and improve air quality while filtering out harmful substances.
Reservoirs of biodiversity
Trees are exceptional refuges for biodiversity. In addition to hosting all kinds of animal, plant and fungus species, they meet these species’ essential needs by purifying water and stabilising soils. Their filtering properties help to manage rainfall and water runoff, and to improve the quality of rivers. By providing other species with habitats and food, trees enable millions of species to thrive.
Contributing to reforestation: an initiative for a sustainable future
Essential protection for the soil
Soil is essential to the wellbeing of the planet and its inhabitants. It guarantees our food security, ensures biodiversity conservation (25% of the world’s biodiversity is found in the soil) and helps to regulate climate change. Planting trees is therefore an excellent means of combating erosion, because they balance out the soil’s water content and groundwater levels, while their roots stabilise sloping land.
An asset for agriculture
Agroforestry, a farming technique that combines trees with crops or animals on the same plot of land, has developed at an impressive rate since it was introduced in the 1990s, proving the benefits of trees once again. In addition to protecting the soil and biodiversity while filtering water deep in the ground to stop nitrates and nitrogen seeping into groundwater, they provide the shade needed for crops while sheltering them from the wind. By capturing the essential elements plants need for survival in the atmosphere, they improve soil fertility and enrich cultivated land.
An essential food resource
Trees produce endless life. They provide a considerable amount of nourishing and medicinal resources, whether directly through things like fruit, or indirectly through mushrooms, for example. Some of trees’ treasures can also be processed into other things. In addition, they ensure food security for many of the animal species that we then go on to eat.
The Yves Rocher Foundation: committed to working on the ground for nearly 15 years
A community committed to making our planet green again
Aware of the need to protect our planet, people are working hard to restore greenery all over the world, following in the footsteps of Wangari Maathai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to plant trees for humanity. It is with this in mind that the Yves Rocher Foundation has been committed to taking action worldwide since 2007. The PlantForLife programme has already initiated the planting of over 100 million trees in 35 countries, and has been a real success. But the hard work does not stop there. The Yves Rocher Foundation plans to plant a further 35 million trees worldwide by 2025 with the help of its thousands of volunteers working on the ground alongside its partner NGOs.
Efficient and enlightened reforestation
Reforestation initiatives are necessary but, in order to be effective, they must be carefully considered, researched in advance, and supervised. Some negative experiences have shown that reforestation efforts can be ineffective or even counter-productive if, for example, inappropriate locations that harm groundwater are chosen, a ‘monoculture’ model that diminishes biodiversity is adopted, or non-native species incompatible with local trees are introduced. It is therefore crucial that we take the ecological, social and economic realities specific to each location into account.
The PlantForLife Manifesto
The PlantForLife programme is part of this well-informed, constructive approach. To highlight its commitment, the Yves Rocher Foundation chose to draft a Manifesto with a group of planters based on five fundamental principles:
Planting for biodiversity;
Planting to expand our knowledge;
Planting for peace;
Planting for living soil;
Planting for the future.
#PlantForLife: 100 reasons and more to plant trees
Well-managed tree-planting initiatives therefore offer a host of benefits. Whether they are universal, personal, ecological, economic, altruistic, local or otherwise, the reasons for helping to reforest our planet are endless. In order to raise awareness about trees and continue learning about their significance, the PlantForLife programme has identified 100 reasons to plant trees. Feel free to share them with your friends and family!
Whatever your motivation, planting a tree has become an essential gesture that everyone can accomplish. Would you like to join a reforestation project? Get involved with us!
Would you like to join our local community of planters? We would be delighted to welcome you to the PlantForLife programme.