Tree planting has become the latest trend in tackling the climate crisis, motivating legions around the world to tap the incredible carbon absorbing potential of trees. Business and political leaders from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have pledged to plant billions - even trillions - of trees across the planet as a fix for runaway carbon emissions and degraded landscapes. Plant trees, save the planet. READ CONCEPT NOTE
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The key is ensuring that these admirable tree planting pledges turn into long-lasting trees and forests that support livelihoods, communities and the planet. But how? When planting trees and restoring forests, good intentions need to be bolstered by strong science. Successful, evidence-based tree planting initiatives start with considering the right tree for the right place and the right purpose.
On September 29, CIFOR-ICRAF in collaboration with the Global Landscapes Forum, will host a half-day digital forum that will bring scientists, forestry experts, community leaders, investors and policymakers together to share insights and scientific evidence to important tree planting initiatives and how to build back better following the Covid-19 pandemic. By sharing CIFOR-ICRAF’s 70 years of experience across the global South in supporting successful tree planting and connecting efforts on biodiversity and landscape restoration, sustainable economic development and dismantling inequality, the forum aims to highlight the many ways to make tree planting good for people and the planet.
Planting a trillion trees: a feel-good exercise or an important mission to save the planet? What does it take to make tree planting successful?
The discussion will investigate some of the misconceptions about tree-planting and look at the pathways to restoring landscapes and growing trees that provide the greatest chance of success – for people and the planet. We will hear from researchers, community representatives and tree planting leaders who seek to build sustainable communities and business models.
Besides the few headline-grabbing big pledges from companies this year, tree planting and landscape restoration at scale have struggled to attract sufficient investment. And yet, investment opportunities abound with commitments by governments to restore hundreds of millions of hectares through agreements like the Bonn Challenge and the New York Declaration on Forests, in addition to growing willingness among companies to make their supply chains more sustainable.
This session will consider where investments in tree planting are happening and where the opportunities remain untapped. Investors – public and private – will discuss their interests and their challenges.
Landscape restoration is often a long-term and costly exercise. CIFOR-ICRAF have developed two important mobile tools for farmers and restoration practitioners plant the right tree in the right place for the right purpose, and collect information on how farmers are managing and protecting trees on their farms. CIFOR-ICRAF experts Roeland Kindt and Tor-Gunnar Vågen will explain how the vegetationmap4africa and the Regreening Africa App can help those involved in landscape restoration make better decisions.
Tree planting techniques and technology, from species selection to considering natural regeneration, can help reduce costs, improve survival rates while connecting communities. During the second session we will consider what trees make the most sense under different climate scenarios, the role of biodiversity, where do we plant which tree species – or let nature do the work through natural regeneration. New technologies, their applications to the future of tree planting and restoration will also be discussed.
Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, World Resources Institute (WRI)
Wanjira Mathai is the Vice President and Regional Director for Africa at WRI.
She formerly served as Co-chair of WRI’s Global Restoration Council and a Senior Advisor to the Global Restoration Initiative. She is the current Chair of the Wangari Maathai Foundation and the former Chair of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya.
An inspiring leader, Wanjira has over 20 years of experience advocating for social and environmental change on both local and international platforms. Over the years, Wanjira has also served important strategic and advocacy roles raising the prominence and visibility of global issues such as climate change, youth leadership, sustainable energy, and landscape restoration, at Women Entrepreneurs in Renewables (wPOWER), the Wangari Maathai Foundation (WMF), and the Green Belt Movement (GBM) the organization her mother, Wangari Maathai (2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) founded in 1977.
Wanjira currently serves on the Board of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and as a Leadership Council member of the Clean Cooking Alliance. Wanjira is one of a few Six Seconds EQ Practitioners in Kenya and was named one of the 100 Most Influential African Women in 2018 and 2020.
Dr. Shapiro has been involved with sustainable agricultural and agroforestry systems, plant breeding, molecular biology and genetics for over 40 years. He has worked with indigenous communities, NGO’s, governmental agencies and the private sector around the world. His academic career spanned 15 years, involving graduate student and post-doctoral students exclusively. A former Fulbright Scholar and Ford Foundation Fellow, in 2007 Howard was made a Fellow of the World Agroforestry Centre and authored the IAASTD chapter on Biotechnology and Biodiversity.
He is member of the National Research Council Committee on Citrus and Greening, a founding member of the Keystone Roundtable on Sustainable Agriculture, co-chair of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd World Congress of Agroforestry and is Chairperson of the External Advisory Board of the Agriculture Sustainability Institute at UC Davis. In 2009, he was named recipient of The Award of Distinction from The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis. He conceived of and led the global effort sequencing, assembling and annotating the Theobroma cacao genome. He is the author of 5 books including: Chocolate, History, Culture and Heritageand Great Moments in Chocolate History.
Yvonne Aki Sawyerr
Mayor of Freetown , Sierra Leone
Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE was sworn in as Mayor of Freetown in May 2018 with a commitment to transform Freetown using an inclusive, data-driven approach to address challenges in the city. Launched in January 2019, the 3-year Transform Freetown plan details 19 concrete targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from waste management and housing, to improving urban planning, tackling environmental degradation and facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector.
A finance professional with over 25 years of private sector experience in strategic planning, risk management consulting and project management, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s public sector engagement began with her work as the Director of Planning at the National Ebola Response Centre during the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2015 and her subsequent role as Delivery Team Lead for the President's Recovery Priorities - the second phase of a multi-stakeholder programme to drive socio-economic recovery in Sierra Leone post Ebola. Her advocacy and charity contributions include campaigning against the trade in “blood diamonds” during the Sierra Leone civil war and in 1999, co-founding the Sierra Leone War Trust for Children (SLWT) which continues to support disadvantaged children in Sierra Leone today.
Mayor Aki-Sawyerr is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and a BSc Hons in Economics from Fourah Bay College. She is married and has two children.
Bonnie Norman, LEED AP, is President of E3 International (E3I)—providing sustainable energy and infrastructure project development, finance, and advisory services to enterprises, governments, financial institutions, NGOs, and donors--with a focus on developing and transition countries. With over 800 completed projects (totaling over $1B) on three continents, E3I’s mission is to scale up investment in climate-smart energy and resilient infrastructure solutions--including natural capital solutions--creating energy, economic, and environmental benefits to support a future where all can thrive.
An international speaker on green banks and blended finance facilities as vehicles to accelerate clean energy investment and positive sustainable development impacts, Ms. Norman serves as Chair of the board of the Montgomery County Green Bank--the United States' first county-level green bank, on the Advisory Group to the Washington, D.C. Green Finance Authority, and as an advisor to governments launching entities to catalyze green investment.
Having co-founded the Child Health Advocacy Institute in 2006, she was engaged as Board Officer of Children's National Health System from 2006-2018, and currently is on the board of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. Formerly an international corporate real estate services executive with JLL and a marketing executive with IBM, Ms. Norman received her MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business and her BA from Harvard College. She is a mother of young adult triplets, certified scuba diver, regenerative organic farmer, and protector of wildlife and wild places.
Founder , BetaEarth.global
Lauren Fletcher is best known as the Founder and Visionary behind BioCarbon Engineering and the inventor of Tree Planting Drone technology, trying to combat global deforestation with a scalable solution that can make a real difference. His newest initiatives are focusing on re-aligning global supply chains in order to lower deforestation rates by reducing the amount of wood based materials in consumer products.
He holds a PhD in Physics (Oxford) and M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering (Stanford). He has 20+ years of experience as an Engineer and Scientist for NASA and Lockheed Martin across Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and Mars exploration programs. He is a serial entrepreneur, founding faculty of Singularity University, and on the Board of Trustees for the Desert Research Institute (Nevada).
He is driven by a genuine concern about the state of our world: degrading climate, loss of natural environments, significant biodiversity losses, and ever increasing human suffering. He believes that emerging and exponential technologies, when appropriately applied, can solve global scale problems in ways that we have never been able to do before.
Co- Leader, Tree Productivity and Diversity, World Agroforestry (ICRAF)
Dr. Ramni H. Jamnadass is a Kenyan lady driven to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and other poor communities through applied agroforestry research, she has great passion in building capacities of national institutes, with a special focus on empowering women. Her leadership and commitment to advanced use of genetic resources beyond conservation has led to successful public-private partnerships for both upstream research and downstream applications related to agrifoods. One of her key achievements includes establishing, in partnership with Mars Inc., the African Orphan Crops Consortium Next Generation Sequencing (AOCC-NGS) state-of-the-art laboratory to generate sequence information to use in marker-assisted breeding of neglected African crops. She also led a 10-year programme in collaboration with Unilever to domesticate and develop a new tree crop Allanblackia spp for Africa, which has made it to European markets. In recent years, she has been heavily engaged in mobilizing diverse tree seed portfolios for productive landscape restoration integrating food trees and biodiversity conservation.
President and Chief Executive Officer, American Forests
Jad Daley has been the president and chief executive officer of American Forests, the nation’s first and oldest forest conservation organization, since 2018. He leads the organization forward on climate change, social equity and other issues related to forests. He moved into that role after a year of serving as the organization’s vice president of Conservation Programs. He also is co-chair of the Forest-Climate Working Group, which he helped launch in 2007, and a member of the Forest Proud Board of Directors. Daley has a long record of leadership in the forest community. From 2008 to 2017, he was at The Trust for Public Land, where he led the Climate Conservation Program and eventually served as vice president for Program Development. He has played a lead role in authoring multiple pieces of federal legislation for forests, including the enabling language for the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest Program and Community Wood Energy Program, both enacted as part of the 2008 Farm Bill. He is a widely published writer on conservation topics and has an active presence on Medium.
With over 15 years of experience in the environmental finance sector, Tanja has worked with companies, Governmental, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on investments, research, strategy development and advisory. Tanja established Clarmondial (previously BeyondCarbon) in Zurich in May 2010 to facilitate investments linked to improved natural resource use efficiency, including payments for environmental services (e.g. carbon finance), climate smart
agriculture, renewable energy, and sustainable forestry. Tanja previously worked for Climate Change Capital (UK), and has carried out work for organisations including the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), GIZ and BAPPENAS, the Indonesian Ministry responsible for planning, the East African Community (EAC) and the World Economic Forum (WEF).Tanja has an LLM in Environmental Law and Policy from University of Kent, and an MSc in Applied Environmental Economics (Imperial College London) and a BSc (Hons) in Tropical Environmental Science from University of Aberdeen. She was born and grew up in Tanzania and Kenya. She speaks English and Danish fluently, and limited German, Portuguese and Swahili.
Professor for Ecosystem Ecology & Founder of Crowther Lab, ETH Zurich
Thomas Crowther is a British scientist specializing in ecosystem ecology and the chief scientific advisor to the UN's Trillion Tree Campaign. He is a tenure-track professor of Global Ecosystem Ecology at ETH Zürich where he formed the Crowther Lab. His work aims to generate a holistic understanding of the global scale ecological systems which regulate the Earth's climate.
After his PhD, Crowther received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Yale Climate and Energy Institute, to pursue his postgraduate research at Yale University. In 2015, Crowther was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship to research the impact of carbon cycle feedbacks on climate change at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO).
In 2017, Crowther started a tenure track professorship at ETH Zürich. His ongoing research is supported through a unique partnership with DOB Ecology – a private foundation focused on supporting projects which protect and restore threatened ecosystems across the globe.
A holistic global understanding of ecological systems is necessary for us to understand and address climate change and biodiversity loss.
Dr. Susan Chomba is the Director of Vital Landscapes for Africa at the World Resources Institute (WRI). She leads the institution’s work on Forests, Food systems and People which includes forest landscape restoration, sustainable agriculture/food systems and thriving rural livelihoods in Africa. Vital Landscapes work at WRI contributes directly to five global goals:
climate change mitigation and adaptation;
reducing poverty and enhancing gender equity;
reversing biodiversity loss;
building resilience in agriculture and food systems;
enhancing access to clean energy for services and production.
Susan is a scientist with over 15 years of research and development experience in Africa. She previously led the Regreening Africa Programme at CIFOR-ICRAF, whose primary objective was to restore degraded lands by scaling up proven and cost-effective technologies and practices across eight countries in Africa: Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Niger, Ghana, Mali and Senegal. She has been instrumental in setting the agenda for landscape restoration through local, national and global platforms.
Head of R&D, Land Life Co.
Harrie Lovenstein, trained at Wageningen University, has been been involved in dryland forestry research, with focus on runoff agroforestry. Currently he is heading the R&D department at Land Life Company in the Netherlands (www.landlifecompany.com), working on nature restoration world wide.
Turn to the trees
View the event trailer
Find out more about tree planting success stories with these videos & publications
CIFOR’s FORETS project, financed by the European Union, is turning degraded lands into a source of sustainable livelihoods in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Zac Tchoundje from the World Agroforestry Centre, discusses why agroforestry has yet to convince local people living in forests of the importance of planting trees – and how they are overcoming this problem.
In ‘One Single Tree’, Carolin Winter and Florian Schnabel show us the benefits to people and the environment that come from just one tree.
Thousands of farmers across Indonesia could be earning more cash from trees they have always grown alongside their other crops.
Restoration of landscapes with forests and trees: highlights from China and the USA
People-Centric Nature-Based Land Restoration through Agroforestry: A Typology
A systematic review of the socio-economic impacts of large-scale tree plantations, worldwide
When is a forest a forest? Forest concepts and definitions in the era of forest and landscape restoration
Do timber plantations contribute to forest conservation?
Forest restoration: Getting serious about the ‘plus’ in REDD+
Participatory monitoring to connect local and global priorities for forest restoration
Principles for successful Tree planting
In addition to the online forum on April 23rd, you will have the opportunity to network and chat within the Food and Livelihoods Community of Practice on the GLFx platform. The Community of Practice will enhance your online experience by diving deeper into the topics of organic agriculture and food practices and systems.
Ask the questions you have been saving; chances are good that at this event, you’ll get connected with the people who can give you answers – on agro-ecological systems, organic farming, just transition and more.
Already got some ideas and plans to make a just transition for the future of food? This event gives you the platform to tell a global audience about them and drum up support. The Digital Forum: Food without Farmers will be livestreamed reaching people all over the world who are interested in organic farming.