I want to dedicate myself to mass reforestation. How do I do that?!
There's a lot of different ways to contribute to this massive project. Supporting reforestation, overcoming obstacles and opposition forces, conserving forests we do have. Via policy, planning, enterprising, education, extension. At local scale, regional, national, global. Wow! Lots of ways to go - and what am I missing?
Of course the right road for one is not necessarily for another. Skills, resources, interests, circumstances all effect that. Even having the choice to "pick a career" is a big privilege. That said, how can one make the best use of that privilege toward mass reforestation?
I'm inclined toward local and leading-by-example solutions. Trees seem to do that. "Think global, act local." Leading by example has a lot of perks, like actually making progress on the ground, developing skills useful during times of peace or catastrophe, tuning one's life into nature, and more.
So, the methods that come to mind for me are any and all kinds of local tree planting / forest conservation / forest restoration / forestry / agroforestry careers. Starting a tree nursery, starting forest gardens, farming with trees, doing forestry. All that feels a little limited - even with a bunch of money, one can only grow so many trees - but maybe it's just the start and doing one's part since one person can't do it all. "Leading by example" - right!(?)
The best solutions that I've seen utilize a wholistic approach to reforestation. It makes no sense to spend a dollar a tree to plant, and then the very people who cut those trees down in the first place return and chop them all down again. Unless you are addressing the root causes of deforestation (often poverty), temporary solutions do nothing. Organizations that are addressing food security, economic empowerment, and reforestation have a much better track record of long-term success.
Three organizations that I support are Plant With Purpose (out of San Diego) Eden Projects, and Harvest Craft (also based in Southern California).
Harvest Craft is a very young organization but is doing a lot of good stuff, particularly in Haiti (one the most deforested countries in the world). Eden Projects (not to be confused with an organization in the UK with the same name) has planted over 200 million trees all over the world. Plant with Purpose has planted over 30 million, but the significance of what they are doing in communities cannot be counted simply by the number of trees, but by entire watershed restoration and community development.
I used to think in terms of just whomever offers to plant the most trees per dollar. Now I realize how short-sighted that is. If education and food security are not a part of the organization's agenda, they are just going to plant trees and watch them get cut down again. I also see the wisdom in people working one watershed at a time. You've got to plant all the way from the top of the watershed to the bottom, and get buy-in from everyone in the communities that will be effected if you really want to address issues of hydrology and fertility.
If I had ten-million dollars to give, I'd give 90% of it to PWP and the other million to Harvest Craft. And then I'd ask for updates and reports that demonstrate where my dollars went and what communities were helped. In 3 years, I'd go visit these communities and see for myself. In 20 years, I'd go back and see rivers running that once were dry, fertility restored where once soils were depleted, and lives changes where once there was despair.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
I'd start local(which I have done, but not been ultimately successful due to wildfires running over my planted areas) - research how to germinate seeds of local trees in your area, collect the seeds, plant, and give the results up to God - some will grow, some won't; some will be eaten, burned, or mowed, but you'll be learning and develop more advanced strategies over time to see what works.
Plant in National Forests, alongside trails, greenways, and/or highwaysides. Most trees/shrubs are much better than grasses for preventing erosion, so planting on cuts and hillsides of highways, etc. would be twofold productive.
I do it this way because I am too cash-poor(southern California does that quite easily) to give much time or money to charities right now.
Experimenting and growing on my small acre in SW USA; Fruit & Nut trees w/ annuals, hoping to get Chickens, rabbits, and in-laws onto property soon.
Long term goal - Furniture & Luthier Stay-at-home farm dad.
R Spencer, leading by example, what else? It's very nice to hear in these desperate times of massive chopping of trees. Bolsonaro in Brazil wants to cut a third of the amazon for profit and industry and give the poor who burn the forests a free for all. Tribes will have to adapt or disappear he has said. Clearcutting is on the rise in Europe and Russia as well. More trees then ever where cut in Finland last year. All behind the Paris agreement, a green mask, raising fuel prices for already poor stricken citizens, pretending to be all for green while cutting more than ever, controlling the media not reporting.
Where i live, the people have become poor and sell their little forests to companies which clear the old forest, which they call weed, they plant Christmas trees, which traditionally grow badly here, so have to be fed fertilizer, polluting the streams. They use horrible chemicals to prevent the deer from eating these monocultures. Three four years later they harvest. They have admitted they can do this two times then the ground is useless. But never mind, they have made enough profit to buy the next indigenous forest from the next impoverished family and clearcut it is. These companies have grown enormously in this region and are regarded as saviors of the economy.
I hear them chainsawing as i write this.
There is no stopping this in my opinion.
The people hail these parasitic companies as the way to go, few exceptions.
What it is going to lead to we will experience in our live times, mass drought, failed crops like never before, soil erosion, algae blooms etc,etc.
But there is room for optimism because the few who do see the utter madness have been developing food forests and methods of replanting desolate areas.
There are films of old men on youtube replanting huge areas, poor people, from desert to parks with elephants in them in a life time. Money is not an excuse at all for not doing this as well.
And i want to be part of that as well, by trying to be as self sufficient as possible and working towards starting a nursery for food trees and nitrogen fixers.
Locally, modestly, learning, organizing, growing as we go.
Good to hear you think alike.
Creating edible biodiversity and embracing everlasting abundance.
Urban reforestation should not be neglected, although cities may not cover huge parts of Earth's surface they are important because of the local warming effect. Also because almost half the world's population lives there. Lastly, so many cities are built on riversides and estuaries (historic trading routes) so it may sound silly but one ought to do what one can for what remains of the ecosystem.
Yes, a big thumbs up to integrating the work with other socio-economic objectives, I think of those prison permaculture projects, for instance, which have a much higher rate of re-integration into society than other types of projects. Plus then you have some sort of infrastructure to support the work. In short green when you can where you can. Can't think of an ecosystem that couldn't use another tree :)