The Arbor Day Foundation has announced the launch of the Time for Trees initiative, a commitment to plant a hundred million trees in forests and communities worldwide by 2022, the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Arbor Day.
According to the foundation, the initiative will entail an investment of more than $200 million, including funding from the foundation, its nearly one million members, and corporate and community partners such as Bank of America, Exelon, FedEx, Hershey, Marriott, PwC, Target, and Verizon. The initiative is designed to address the critical loss of forests through active replanting efforts in geographically and biologically diverse areas and reduce tree gaps resulting from natural disasters, disease, insects, and development — creating greener, healthier, and more sustainable communities.
The ultimate goal is to leverage trees as a way to deliver countless benefits to the environment, society, and the global economy, including removing nearly six hundred thousand tons of chemical pollution from the air, increasing the accessibility of fresh water, preventing soil erosion, contributing to timber harvests (an industry that generates $600 billion annually and accounts for more than fifty-four million jobs), boosting the recreation and tourism industries, reducing stress levels through increased greenspace, and helping advance medical breakthroughs (more than a quarter of modern medicines are derived from tropical forest plants).
"It can be easy to take trees for granted, but they are absolutely critical to maintaining balance on our planet — supporting clean air and water, healthy food, and a livable climate," said Arbor Day Foundation president Dan Lambe. "With an estimated eighteen million acres of forests lost globally each year, that balance is being shaken, and the Time for Trees initiative — our organization's largest undertaking to date — will provide a powerful solution."