There are 3 trillion trees on earth, roughly. It may seem like we have an abundance of trees, especially when you are looking out over a sprawling forest, lush with green life. But over time, we have lost at least a third of the trees on this planet. As deforestation, logging, and climate change continue to ramp up, we are likely to see forests getting smaller around the world—unless changes are made.
Trees are a vital part of our ecosystem. They create biodiverse landscapes, protect our quality of water, and help keep our air clean and breathable. For example, trees alongside roads can improve nearby indoor air quality by over fifty percent. Forests around the world have consistently cut down fossil fuel air pollution by a third, annually. As we look to the future, we need to make sure forests are replenished and managed well.
For those of us who are not foresters or farmers, planting trees and reforesting may seem like an unapproachable problem. But there are many ways to help the situation and get involved—whether you live in a packed city or in the country. By donating and finding organizations to plant trees with, we can all have a lasting impact on the future.
10 tree-planting organizations to donate to
Some organizations to plant trees with are spread out on a global scale. Others may be focused on a national or regional area. We need these varied groups to help educate and train volunteers while raising money and support to protect and foster our forests. The best organizations will be transparent about where donations go while working hard to make sure planted trees are as beneficial for their environments as possible. Here are some options to check out:
1. Plant for the Planet
Plant for the Planet is a non-profit organization, aiming to raise awareness about the effects of climate change and the available options to help protect and restore our natural world. Created and inspired by the vision of a nine-year-old boy in 2007, this organization now aims to plant a trillion trees around the planet, partnering with the UN. Plant for the Planet also fights for more visibility and accountability for climate change groups, boosting authentic and trustworthy tree planting projects. They are also a fantastic resource for finding organizations to plant trees with, gathering together options from around the world.
2. Trees for the Future
Trees For the Future works with and trains farmers, fighting to end poverty and hunger — while protecting the planet. This group aims to plant a billion trees by 2030, bringing together rural communities to achieve this ambitious goal. While working around the globe, they are currently focused on certain developing nations in Africa.
3. International Tree Foundation
The International Tree Foundation was founded in 1922 in Kenya. Using education and community support, this organization has been able to protect forests and plant trees around the world. After raising generous support in the 1990’s, the Foundation was able to purchase and preserve a large portion of tropical rainforest in the Amazon.
4. The Bonn Challenge
The Bonn Challenge was launched in 2011, in partnership with the German government. With a goal of 350 million hectares of restored land by 2030, this organization brings together pledges from over 60 countries. Working with governments and local groups, the Bonn Challenge aims to inspire authentic and lasting tree planting and restoration projects.
5. Tree Canada
Tree Canada is the only non-profit tree planting organization in Canada, creating more green spaces and forests in urban areas — as well as rural. Donations of just $5 each will provide for trees to be planted across Canada. Working with local communities and indigenous tribes, Tree Canada also aims to teach people to care for and maintain the natural world around them.
6. Click A Tree
Click A Tree was created after its founder witnessed massive deforestation in Thailand. Bringing together funds from donations and local tourism, this organization has been able to empower landowners and farmers to plant trees and restore damaged landscapes. Click A Tree now enables donations to help with forestry projects across the globe.
Treedom is a platform designed to connect donations and support with farmers in many different countries. Founded in Florence in 2010, they now have projects in Italy, Africa, and South America. After trees have been planted, Treedom allows supporters to keep track of their trees and see the impact on local communities.
8. Arbor Day Foundation
The Arbor Day Foundation plants over 5 million trees every year in North America. Since its creation in 1972, in Nebraska, the Arbor Day Foundation has planted trees in rural and urban environments around the world. This is a great organization to plant trees with, bringing together over a million registered members. They also work to restore trees in areas hit by natural disasters, with their Community Tree Recovery program.
9. Eden Reforestation Projects
Eden Reforestation Projects aims to bring farmers and workers out of poverty while building new forests and protecting our natural world. Created in Ethiopia in 2005, this organization now plants more than 20 million trees a month. Working in impoverished communities across different nations, the Eden Restoration Project boosts local economies by hiring residents to plant trees and protect their natural surroundings.
10. American Forests
Founded in 1875, American Forests is the oldest non-profit conservation group in the USA. As well as lobbying Congress to protect forests and provide funds to fight wildfires, American Forests aims to plant 4 billion trees across the country by 2030. This organization also fights for neighborhoods and cities to have adequate amounts of trees and green spaces.
5 organizations that you can plant trees with
While many groups work with farmers and foresters to plant trees, there are organizations you can personally get involved with the planting. For many people, these hands-on opportunities are inspiring and fun ways to engage in their own communities, while gaining a better understanding of natural restoration. Here are some organizations to plant trees with:
1. Trees, Water & People
Trees, Water & People has planted over 600 thousand trees in the past four years. This mission to plant trees and restore landscapes, inspired by the wish of a late friend, is focused on tribal lands in the US, and regions in Central and South America. Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, this organization has varied options for volunteering and internships.
2. Tree People
With a focus on planting trees in cities and urban areas, Tree People has existed for nearly fifty years. This organization, based out of LA, offers resources to educate and inspire tree planting projects, while also providing chances to volunteer and get your hands dirty. This is a wonderful organization to plant trees with and learn from.
3. One Tree Planted
One Tree Planted was founded in Vermont, in 2014. This non-profit organization has planted over 11 million trees since its creation. With partners around the globe, One Tree Planted aims to plant a tree for every dollar donated. With consistent photos and updates on planting, they are transparent and open about their projects.
4. The Nature Conservancy
Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has protected over 125 million acres of land around the world. Bringing together scientists, volunteers, and grassroots activists, this plant trees and restore landscapes. With projects in over seventy countries, The Nature Conservancy offers a huge array of volunteer opportunities.
5. The Greening of Detroit
There are many great tree planting volunteer opportunities in cities around the world. As an example, The Greening of Detroit protects and fosters urban forests in Detroit, Michigan. By planting and maintaining healthy trees throughout the city, this organization brings the community together and makes Detroit a healthier and more beautiful place. They have volunteer events throughout the year.
The impact of planting trees
While it is not the silver bullet for undoing the manmade impact on climate change, reforestation should be a key part of every strategy to protect the planet. So much of our civilization, as well as the natural world around us, is built on our forests. Whenever you imagine Earth as a blue and green ball in space, remember that our green spaces are not set in stone. They are living, breathing parts of our planet — resilient and fragile at the same time. It’s never been a better time to find good organizations to plant trees with and help protect them.