James Borrell is a biodiversity scientist and science communicator researching how people and nature can adapt to environmental change.

Tree Planting and Forest Conservation Charities

Tree planting is, in my view, one of the simplest and best things you can do to support conservation. If I could do one thing in my career in conservation, it would be to encourage, organise and enable – quite simply – the planting of lots and lots of trees.

I recently penned a quick list of good tree planting organisations for a famous ginger adventurer (weirdly, that might not narrow it down, there are several!), who himself wants to help plant lots and lots of trees, hurrah!

Why? I’m probably preaching to the converted, but..

– Forests help prevent erosion and secure soil.

– Forests influence their own climate, bringing rainfall across vast areas.

– Forests have been drastically reduced, especially in temperate areas.

– They support many wonderful species and increase habitat complexity.

– And provide a huge variety of resources that we make use of now, and will want to make use of in the future.

 A few simple rules then, to do the job properly…

– Plant native species.
Exotics are OK for gardens and parks, but if you’re regenerating forests then plant the things that should be there (after all, it’s what all of the insects and birds are adapted to rely on).

– Source them from a local area, if you can. This helps ensure they are adapted to quirks of your local climate and conditions.

– Involve local communities, and tell people why you’re doing it. Few people in Scotland, for example, know that much of the highlands used to be covered in forest. Many are reluctant to see change, but give it a chance! With forests come great benefits.

– Encourage natural seed dispersal, so that in the future, the forest regenerates on it’s own. This saves both effort, and money.

Tree planting projects are everywhere…

From cities like London to far flung rainforests, here’s a few organisations worth supporting:

Trees for the Future – www.treesforthefuture.org

International Tree Foundation – www.internationaltreefoundation.org

Tree Aid – www.treeaid.org.uk

Plant A Billion – www.plantabillion.org

Global Trees Campaign – www.globaltrees.org

Trees for Change – www.islamichelp.org.uk

And if you want to hit a really worthwhile grass roots project…

Tetik’asa Mampody Savoka” (Madagascar) – www.associationmitsinjo.com

Closer To Home…

Of course, sometimes people are much more likely to support projects closer to home. You get more bang for your buck in Africa, but in Scotland, Trees for Life are doing amazing work!

Trees for Life – www.treesforlife.org.uk

Don’t worry if you’re a city dweller, there’s an organisation for you too.

Trees for Cities – www.treesforcities.org

Any others I can add?