Ethiopia breaks world record in a nationwide reforestation initiative

On July 20, 2019, Ethiopia smashed the reforestation record with exactly 353,633,660 trees planted in 12 hours, according to an announcement by Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuria. Its target was 200 million trees. Ethiopia shatters the record for India which was 66.75 million trees planted by 1.5 million volunteers in 24 hours

This spectacular reforestation in such a short time is part of his campaign called “Green Legacy,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The campaign aims to plant four billion trees on 1.5 million hectares during the rainy season, between May and October. This represents about 40 trees per Ethiopian, the population being 104 million inhabitants.

In addition, Ethiopia has pledged to restore 15 million hectares of degraded forest and landscapes by 2030, as part of the “Bonn Challenge”.

Ethiopia’s forest area is only 4%, according to Farm Africa, an NGO that works with farmers, pastoralists and forest communities in East Africa to help alleviate poverty. At the end of the 19th century, the forest cover of Ethiopia was 30%.

Ethiopia has lost almost all of its forests due to human activity and the climate. The poverty of its population has pushed it to cut more and more trees to heat itself, to cook food and to cultivate. This deforestation has led to soil erosion and increased droughts and floods.