Which country plants the most trees
Ethiopians plant 350 million trees
Planting trees has long been known as a discipline in the Guinness Book of Records. The categories of how many trees a single person can plant in 24 hours (15,170), how many trees a team of 300 planters can dig into the earth in one hour (847,275) or how many palms a state can plant in ten years has already been awarded has cultivated (42 million).
But now Ethiopia has put the treetop on the planting discipline: Residents of the East African state sank 353,633,660 seedlings into the ground within twelve hours. So far, the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has held this record: two years ago, over the same period, 66 million sprouts were distributed around the world by 1.5 million volunteers.
The government in Addis Ababa spared no effort for the new world record. More than 1,000 locations had been selected to which officers were sent with specially developed counting software. All schools and public offices were closed on the day of the competition so that enough hands were available. Even Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed got his fingers dirty: He planted an unspecified number of acacias in the southern Ethiopian city of Arba Minch.
The Monday action was part of the government program called "Green Legacy", under which even four billion trees are to be planted by October. In total, Prime Minister Abiy's government wants to reforest 150,000 square kilometers by the end of next year - an area the size of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony put together.
Largely cleared since the beginning of the 20th century
120 years ago, a good third of Ethiopia was still covered with forest. Now it's not even four percent. The growth of the population was not least responsible for the tree death.
In the past 60 years, the Ethiopians have quintupled and appropriately confiscated more pasture and arable land as well as firewood. With more than 100 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the second most populous state in Africa today.
In the meantime, however, those responsible in Addis Ababa know how important trees are for both agriculture and the general welfare of the population: They provide shade, keep the soil moist and erosion in check.
If used carefully, trees can provide fruit, fodder, fuel, lumber and even remedies for years. Ethiopia is one of the 21 African countries that have set themselves the goal of jointly reforesting one million square kilometers - an area three times the size of Germany.
Trees have great CO2Storage potential
Scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich recently announced the result of a satellite-based study, according to which areas around the world with a total area of nine million square kilometers are unused, but on which trees could grow. If trees were actually planted there, they could absorb a third of all carbon dioxide that mankind has released into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.
According to the Swiss researchers, the most effective way of stopping global warming is to plant trees: arithmetically, one trillion trees could absorb the entire amount of carbon dioxide released over the past 25 years. At their current pace, it would take the Ethiopians just under eight years - provided they plant trees for twelve hours a day.
Critics accuse the Ethiopian prime minister of merely trying to distract from his failing policies. When he took office a year ago, Abiy had announced a fundamental reform of his politically and economically frozen homeland. But now its perestroika threatens to drown in bloody conflicts between the various population groups.
However, what is supposed to be bad about it when the head of government is aiming to save livelihoods, his critics have not further elaborated.
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