India’s response to the recent Paris Agreement to address climate change and global warming includes a pledge of £4.77 billion to reforest 95 million hectares of the country – which equates to around 12% – by 2030. That is huge undertaking but, with time it would lead to the establishment of a vast, long term, biomass accumulating carbon sink that is crucial to stabilising the climate. In the UK we are able to benefit right now from such long term visionary planting.
Kicking off this reforestation commitment was the recent world record-breaking tree-planting drive. On Sunday July 2, 1.5 million volunteers came together to plant 66 million tree saplings in 12 hours. Between the hours of 7am and 7pm, children and adults of all ages planted 20 different varieties of tree in Madhya Pradesh in Central India, along the Narmada River. The riverside locations were chosen to allow for constant water supply, in order to increase the trees’ chances of survival.
Deforestation and forest degradation are said to account for 17% of the world’s carbon emissions and the planet loses 15 billion trees every year. In India particularly, deforestation is a growing issue due to the rising population (currently more than 1.3 billion) and the increasing need for agricultural land and housing.