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Tree Planting Statistics: How Many Trees Planted Per Year

Trees are vital for our planet. They give us clean air, food and help protect our water sources. But with climate change and deforestation on the rise, it’s clear that we need to plant more trees.

1.8 billion trees were planted worldwide, and while this might sound like a lot, it’s still much lower than the staggering 15.3 billion trees cut down yearly. That means for every tree planted, eight are cut down.

This article delves into the fascinating realm of tree planting statistics, shedding light on the numbers that reveal both the strides made and the challenges that lie ahead.

Key Takeaways

  • Worldwide 1.8 billion trees were planted, yet for every tree planted, eight are cut down.
  • Every year, the United States plants over 1 billion trees.
  • More than one million acres of National Forests need reforestation.
  • If every person on Earth were to plant a tree annually for the next 20 years, there would be 160 billion new trees.

General Tree Planting Statistics – How Many Trees Planted Per Year

Every year, a significant number of trees are planted across the globe, marking a collective effort to restore and expand our forested areas. These tree-planting initiatives aim to counter the detrimental effects of deforestation and enhance the overall health and resilience of our planet’s ecosystems. However, are these efforts enough? Let’s find out!

According to statistics, 1.83 billion trees are planted annually

According to data from many organizations and governments, close to 1.83 billion trees are planted annually. This means that approximately 58 trees are planted every second.

tree-planting-rates-across-time-intervals

Typically, up to 600 trees can be planted within a single acre of land

On average, an acre can accommodate the growth of 500 to 600 trees. The exact number of trees within this range depends on various factors such as the specific tree species, their desired spacing, and the overall objectives of the planting project.

If every person on the planet planted a tree each year for the next 20 years, that would mean roughly 160 billion new trees

Currently, the Earth’s population is nearly 8 billion. If every person were to plant a tree annually for the next 20 years, the outcome would be approximately 160 billion new trees.

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The Earth has enough space for billions of mature trees

The Earth, with its vast expanse, provides ample room for cultivating 4.4 billion hectares of canopy cover1 that could exist under the current climate. However, by excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, there is room for only an extra 900 million hectares of canopy cover.

1 the area of the land that is covered by tree crowns vertically projected to the ground

The tree population experienced a substantial decrease since the start of human civilization

There are approximately 3 trillion trees worldwide, averaging around 375 trees per person. However, this number represents a decline of nearly 50% from an estimated 6 trillion trees that existed before human existence.

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It takes approximately 10 seconds to plant a tree

A professional tree planter can plant a tree in less than 10 seconds.

Small countries are making a great impact on the tree planting agenda

In 2019, Ethiopia achieved a world record recognized by the Guinness Book of Records by planting an astounding 350 million trees in a single day. Two years later, Rwanda unveiled a strategy to plant more than 43 million trees within a span of two months. This initiative is a key component of the country’s comprehensive plan to reduce its carbon emissions by 38% before 2030. Furthermore, Rwanda is committed to restore a minimum of 2 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.

Tree Planting in the US

Due to recent declines in urban tree cover observed in various regions, tree cover within existing urban areas is anticipated to decrease in the foreseeable future.

Every year, the United States plants over 1 billion trees

The US plants over 1 billion trees annually, resulting in over 50 consecutive years of continuous growth in forests that surpasses the amount harvested annually. This achievement is attributed to the implementation of responsible forest management practices.

More than one million acres of National Forests need reforestation

There is a pressing need for reforestation across more than one million acres of National Forests. The vast expanse of these forested lands has experienced various forms of degradation, such as wildfires, logging activities, insect infestations, and natural disturbances.

The seedlings intended for planting are cultivated at a nursery by the U.S. Forest Service for one to two years before they are actually planted

The U.S. Forest Service takes climate change into consideration when determining the location and species of trees to plant. Additionally, they conduct regular monitoring of seedlings at one, three, and five years after planting to ensure their survival.

Tree planting serves as a crucial source of clean and accessible water for millions of Americans nationwide

Planting young trees in riparian areas, located in close proximity to rivers or streams, can effectively mitigate erosion and enhance the overall quality of water.

Two trees planted can remove one ton of CO2 from the atmosphere over their lifespan

Planting two trees can effectively eliminate one ton of CO2 from the atmosphere throughout the lifespan of those trees. Considering that the average carbon footprint of an American is approximately 20 tons of CO2 annually, offsetting this impact would require planting 40 trees.

The urban tree cover is continuously declining

It is forecasted that the urban tree cover within existing urban areas (2010 baseline) will experience a decline from 39.4% to 31.0% by 2060. Additionally, there are projections indicating a reduction in the overall value of urban forest carbon storage by $34 billion, a decrease in energy conservation benefits by $855 million per year, and a decline in avoided pollutant emissions by$318 million per year.

Preserving the current percent of tree cover will entail sustaining additional carbon storage and averting the emission of extra tonnes of carbon

By maintaining the existing percentage of tree cover, we can uphold an additional 180 million tonnes of carbon storage and prevent the release of an extra 1.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

States with the most tree cover in the US

Maine ranks at the top with an impressive 89% tree coverage, followed closely by New Hampshire with 83% and West Virginia with 79%. These states demonstrate a solid commitment to preserving and maintaining their forested areas.

tree-coverage-in-US

Maintaining urban tree coverage until 2060 will require planting a significant number of trees

To maintain urban tree coverage until 2060, an estimated annual planting of 23 million trees is required. This translates to an average rate of one new tree per 1.2 hectares (3.0 acres) of urban land. Furthermore, if each urban resident were to plant one tree every 11.5 years, or approximately seven trees in their lifetime, it would contribute to sustaining tree cover within existing urban areas.

Financial support for forest-related actions, including establishment and management, should at least triple

There is a requirement for policy shifts to achieve the targets related to climate action, biodiversity preservation, and the neutralization of land degradation. Adequate financial support for these forest-related endeavors, including establishment and management, must surpass USD 200 billion annually by 2030.

Forests Coverage

Forests cover approximately 31% of the world’s total land area

Forests cover a total area of 4.06 billion hectares, amounting to approximately 5,000 square meters per person, although distribution is uneven globally. However, human activity has led to the loss of 420 million hectares since the 1990s.

More than half of the world’s forests are found in only five countries

66% of the world’s forests are found in ten countries; however, the majority of the world’s forests (53.8%) are concentrated in five countries: the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America, and China.

global-distribution-of-forests

Nearly 20% of the global forest area falls within legally established protected areas

Around 20% of the world’s forested regions, spanning over 700 million hectares, are encompassed by legally designated protected areas, including national parks, conservation areas, and game reserves classified under IUCN2 categories I-IV.

2 International Union for Conservation of Nature

Russia, Canada, and Brazil together have almost half of the trees grown

Russia has the highest number of trees, with 642 billion, followed by Canada with 318 billion, and Brazil, with 302 billion. These three countries together possess 41% of all trees. Their old-growth forests include diverse ecosystems and valuable resources that contribute to global biodiversity and provide valuable ecosystem services.

Russia holds the first place for the number of trees, followed by Canada and then Brazil

Russia has the highest number of trees, with 642 billion, followed by Canada with 318 billion, and then comes Brazil with 302 billion. These countries possess diverse ecosystems and extensive forest resources that contribute to global biodiversity and provide valuable ecosystem services.

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Forests play a vital role in carbon sequestration and pollution reduction

One hundred mature trees can remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of atmospheric pollution in one year.

Ecosystem services provided by forests contribute significantly to the global gross domestic product

Slightly over 50% of the global gross domestic product (valued at USD 84.4 trillion in 2020) relies to a moderate extent (USD 31 trillion per year) or a high extent (USD 13 trillion per year) on ecosystem services, including those provided by forests.

Climate change will impact the potential tree coverage

If the current trajectory remains unchanged, it is projected that the potential global canopy cover will decrease by approximately 223 million hectares by the year 2050. The majority of these losses will happen in tropical regions.

Tree Planting by Continent

North America sits at the top of the list, planting approximately 10.97 million trees in 2022, while over the last decade, the total number of trees planted was 12.35 million. On the other hand, Europe is at the bottom, with only 760,845 trees planted over the last ten years.

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What is Being Done to Encourage New Planting

Currently, there are at least three initiatives to promote one trillion trees on the planet (e.g., 1t.org—World Economic Forum; Trillion Trees—BirdLife International, Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Wide Fund for Nature; Trillion Tree Campaign—Plant for the Planet and United Nations Environmental Program)

Global leaders unite to halt and reverse deforestation

Over 100 global leaders, encompassing 85% of the world’s forested areas, have made a collective commitment to halt and reverse deforestation by the conclusion of the current decade.

The global commitment will involve a total of $19.2 billion in combined private and public financing

Among 12 nations, including England, Brazil, and Russia, $12 billion in public funds will be allocated from 2021 to 2025 for initiatives such as land restoration, support for indigenous communities, and efforts to mitigate the impact of wildfires.

tree-planting-public-and-private-funding

Private funding sources are supporting these initiatives

From the $19.2 billion mentioned above, new private funding sources, including contributions from companies and philanthropic organizations, will provide $7.2 billion to support various initiatives. These initiatives include promoting deforestation-free soy and cattle production in South America, as well as expanding investments in tree-planting and other nature-based solutions to address environmental challenges.

Governments and philanthropists will provide direct financial support

Governments and philanthropists will provide direct financial support of no less than $1.7 billion to indigenous peoples and local communities as recognition for their crucial role in safeguarding forests.

There are several goals set to reduce deforestation

The New York Declaration on Forestry aimed to reduce deforestation by 50% by 2020, while the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aimed to end it by 2020.

The set targets are not always met

Not only have both these targets been missed, but tropical deforestation has actually accelerated by 44% compared with the 13-year period immediately before the NYDF in 2014.

The One Tree Planted initiative has made a significant impact on tree-planting targets

One Tree Planted remained committed to its core tree-planting mission, leveraging its extensive network of over 463 planting partners worldwide. Through 327 impactful projects spanning 74 countries, they successfully planted an impressive total of 52,7 million trees.

The Great Green Wall program seeks to establish a forest “wall” spanning 8,000 kilometers across select Sub-Saharan countries

This ambitious project seeks to establish a forest “wall” spanning 8,000 kilometers across Africa. The countries participating in this initiative encompass Senegal, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Nigeria. Since its inception in 2007, the project has already made significant strides in revitalizing the deteriorated landscapes of the targeted regions.

At the National Forest Foundation, $1 plants one tree

At the National Forest Foundation, a remarkable initiative has been established where every dollar contributed goes towards planting a tree. This powerful program enables individuals, communities, and organizations to actively participate in reforestation efforts across the country.

The National Forest Foundation managed to plant over seven million trees

In 2021, the National Forest Foundation achieved an impressive milestone of planting over seven million trees, thanks to the generous support of individuals, small businesses, and corporate partners.

Will Planting Trees Reverse Climate Change?

The main driver of climate change is an overabundance of greenhouse gases. When the number of trees that absorb these gases decreases, they stay in the atmosphere and make global warming worse.

Planting trees can solve the carbon issue

Multiple studies provide compelling evidence that tree planting can effectively mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. For example, the restoration of trees within a specific forest has been proven to enhance local rainfall levels and effectively sequester carbon, thus preventing its release into the atmosphere.

The rate at which we plant new trees is insufficient to compensate for the trees that are cleared in carbon-storing forests

Forests contain 662 billion tonnes of carbon, more than half the global carbon stock in soils and vegetation. However, it is widely acknowledged that relying solely on tree planting will not be sufficient to effectively combat climate change. It is imperative to implement additional measures, alongside tree planting efforts.

To Sum up

Tree planting plays a significant role in addressing environmental challenges like deforestation, climate change, and habitat loss. The statistics above highlight the global efforts to restore and conserve forests.

While these numbers demonstrate progress, it is essential to continue scaling up tree-planting initiatives and implementing sustainable land management practices. By doing so, we can contribute to carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and the overall well-being of our planet for future generations.

Photo of author

Fern Berg - Founder

Expert Gardener & Horticulturist in Training

Fern has planted and currently cares for over 100 different native and exotic fruit, nut, and ornamental trees. She also cultivates an extensive vegetable garden, several flower gardens and cares for an ever-growing happy family of indoor plants. Fern has a special interest in biodynamic farming, food production and closed loop agriculture. Fern founded Tree Vitalize to help guide others with an interest in tree planting, identification and care.