Ethiopia plants more than 350 million tree seedlings in one day to fight climate change

Ethiopia plants more than 350 million tree seedlings in one day to fight climate change
© Office of Prime Minister of Ethiopia

Individuals in Ethiopia planted more than 350 million trees on Monday as part of an effort to combat the consequences of deforestation and climate change. 

Getahun Mekuria, the minister for innovation and technology, said on Twitter that the nation had planted 353 million trees in the span of 12 hours.

The campaign, which is aiming to plant about 4 billion trees in total, is being led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The initiative is encouraging citizens to plant at least 40 seedlings this summer, The Guardian reported

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The effort is part of a greater campaign to combat the effects of climate change on a nation prone to droughts. 

For example, the United Nations has said that Ethiopia's forest coverage declined by about 30 percent from the early 20th century to the early 2000s, The Guardian noted. About 4 percent of the country was covered by forests in the early part of the 21st century. 

The 353 million trees being planted in a single day represents a world record, The Guardian reported. The previous record occurred in 2016, when volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in one day. 

Staff from the United Nations, African Union and foreign embassies in Ethiopia took part in the tree-planting effort.

“This truly impressive feat is not just the simple planting of trees, but part of a huge and complicated challenge to take account of the short- and long-term needs of both the trees and the people," Dr. Dan Ridley-Ellis, the head of the center for wood science and technology at Edinburgh Napier University, told The Guardian. "The forester’s mantra ‘the right tree in the right place’ increasingly needs to consider the effects of climate change, as well as the ecological, social, cultural and economic dimension.”