Digital Forum: Can tree planting save our planet?


29 September 2020








Can tree planting save our planet?

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





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.

Hosted by CIFORICRAF and Resilient Landscapes
in collaboration with the Global Landscapes Forum


Click here to watch the recording.


Bonn:GMT +2
Welcome LIVE NOW
Vania Olmos Lau
Opening remarks LIVE NOW

CIFOR Director General/CIFOR-ICRAF Managing Director

Robert Nasi

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.

Cora van Oosten

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.

Leona Liu

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.

Ramni Jamnadass
Closing Remarks LIVE NOW

ICRAF Director General/CIFOR-ICRAF Executive Director

Tony Simons


Wanjira Mathai

World Resources Institute (WRI)

Howard-Yana Shapiro

Distinguished Senior Fellow, Resilient Landscapes & Distinguished Senior Fellow, ICRAF

Yvonne Aki Sawyerr

Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone

Bonnie Norman

E3 International

Lauren Fletcher

Ramni Jamnadass


Jad Daley

American Forests

Tanja Havemann


Thomas Crowther

ETH Zurich

Susan Chomba

Director, Vital Landscapes, WRI Africa

Harrie Lovenstein

Land Life Co.

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.

Organizations that engage with GLF




Melissa Angel

Communications Coordinator


Nina Haase

Engagement and Growth Coordinator