Tree Planting Projects; how do these schemes actually work? Is a tree planting project always positive? In this article, with the help of MOYU, we’ll take a look at the world of tree planting projects. As a passionate team of paper saving innovators, they know their stuff when it comes to tree planting and sustainability.

Coming up in this blog:

  • Is a tree planting project always positive?

  • Why trees are so important to our planet;

  • Why are so many forests being cut down and cleared?

  • What makes a GOOD tree planting project?

Why are trees so important?

Firstly, let’s talk about the why. Why are trees so important to our planet?

In case you can’t recall this lesson from your school years – trees absorb CO2 and emit clean air in the form of oxygen. An essential process for all living things (including humans..) In addition, forests serve as a home for many animals, plants and flower species. Without forests, local biodiversity in these areas will decline dramatically, ultimately leading to a decline in global biodiversity and a collapsed ecosystem.

In short: without trees, it is impossible to have a healthy, biodiverse, liveable, world. Every minute, roughly 30 football fields of forest are cut down worldwide. If we continue at this rate, there won’t be a single forest or rainforest left on earth in 80 years’ time.

Cutting back on Tree Felling

Why? Why are so many forests being cut down and cleared?

Agriculture. Soy and palm oil. Paper. Within the agricultural industry, we often find that only one species of plant is grown over one piece of land. These monocultures deplete the soil and are profitable for a few years. A very unsustainable way to make use of the land. Within the paper (graphic) industry, the cut wood is often used only once and then thrown away. Say hello to ‘single use paper’! 

Paper can actually be recycled up to 7 times, but even recycling paper requires new, fresh wood fibres.

100% recyclable paper does not exist’.

The industries that thrive on logging are therefore very often not sustainable. They create an increasing and greater shortage of trees and exhaust the soil.

Is Planting more trees the solution?

So, in addition to putting a stop to mass tree felling, do we just plant more trees?.. That seems like a nice, obvious solution right?

Alas, there’s a little bit more to it than that..

  • Taking farmer territory

    Sadly, once the land is depleted and no longer profitable, the farmer can lose their (once fertile) land and income. If the farmer’s land is then used for a tree planting project, this actually yields no income for the farmer and the land is lost.

  • Tree monoculture

    Quantity over quality. Governments and companies are often only concerned with the number of trees planted and not the quality. They are paid for the number of trees they plant, so more is – more

    They can communicate these large figures to the outside world and everybody is very impressed. What few people know is that often only one type of tree is planted, bringing in the issue of monoculture again. Planting one species of tree like this can have zero or even negative influence on the flora, fauna and life that takes place (or should take place) in the forests. Many companies and governments are guilty of greenwashing in this way. Making the company or project appear “greener” and “more sustainable” than they really are.

  • Wrong type of trees

    Even if various tree species are planted, which prevents monoculture, we still run into problems if the wrong type of trees are planted – like a pine tree in a tropical area.. When (re)planting trees, it is extremely important that only the correct native trees are introduced. These trees occur naturally in the area and contribute positively to biodiversity.

  • Little or no management

    Finally, forest management is necessary for successful tree growth. Many trees are planted in developing countries, but with little to no care allocated for them. This also applies to forest protection. As a consequence, trees are often cut down by the local population for firewood etc.

‘A good project supports biodiversity. It keeps nature systems alive and in balance or brings nature back to areas where it has disappeared.’

What makes a GOOD tree planting project?

We’re so glad you asked. 

Like many things these days, you really have to read the fine print to these projects and be critical when a company claims to collaborate with a tree planting organisation. 

Make sure the project you are supporting are:

A new forest will not be successful if it’s just randomly planted in an area. 

There must be extensive research conducted in and around the type of forest, flora, fauna and life that should be present in these (future) forests.

  • Planting the right kind of trees:

    Native trees that make a positive contribution to the biodiversity and local ecosystem in that specific area.

  • Planting diverse trees:

    Multiple types of trees are planted to avoid monoculture. 

  • Fair tree planting:

    Local farmers and landowners are taken into account and do not suffer from the loss of their land and income. Workers who help plant the trees should also receive a fair wage and work in healthy conditions.

  • Ensuring management & protection:

    There must be an organization, company or government that actually takes care of the planted trees and protects them against (illegal) logging.

What is Agroforestry? Is it good?

Yes! Agroforestry involves planting a tree that provides food or a sales value at some point. 

These trees are often planted within a community. The advantage is that the community has a vested interest in protecting the trees. The tree provides food or can eventually be sold. Therefore, the trees are of greater value for the community (unlike, for example, trees that are used purely for firewood). In addition, various crops are often planted, which benefits the soil and makes the land less sensitive to extreme weather conditions or pests. Yay!

Some projects link GPS coordinates to a tree group/site. This way you can find out exactly where the planted trees are and what happens to them. However, this makes it a lot more expensive to plant a tree and these costs should be taken into consideration.

Sustainable alternatives

Fortunately, there are also other ways to combat the massive felling of trees and the consequences: choose better alternatives. Opt for locally produced food that comes directly from the farmer in your area. Eat a vegetarian/vegan meal more often than meat. 

Use paper alternatives, such as tree-free stone paper. This is paper made from limestone and a small percentage of recycled plastic. The ink of Frixion pens on stone paper can be erased, which means you can write on the paper again. 

MOYU is one of the only companies that offers rewritable notebooks, and other stationery items (buy here!) made of this sustainable stone paper. Very clever indeed.

The world of tomorrow

A fair, effective and sustainable tree planting project can ensure that ecosystems remain in balance or are revived. Ecosystems in which trees, plants, flowers and animals can flourish and grow!

All local ecosystems work together to keep the global ecosystem in balance. Therefore, its extremely important to be critical of the tree planting project (or other green project) that you are supporting to make sure you’re contributing to the world of tomorrow.

‘We believe stories will inspire all to
rethink the way we live, love, travel, work and do business.’
Ellekari & Mariëlle
Founders of Circular Stories

About us & Circular People

Walk the talk. Our professional community is helping brands to go and grow circular. People like you and me. Driven to make a positive impact.

All people >>

“I believe in zero waste of energy:
in materials and humans”

Msc. Circular Business Development
Ba. Marketing / Communications

“We have to rethink the way we live,
love, travel and do business”

Culture Brand Strategist
Concepting & Business Innovation
Drs. Pharmacy.

Follow us:

Other Channels: