New World Record? Did Ethiopia Really Plant Over 350 Million Trees In One Day?

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Eco-News | January 10, 2024

Photo that shows the characteristics of beech tree.

Image of an open field scattered with trees and a lush rainforest in the background in central Brazil

The country of Ethiopia recently claimed that, with the help over 23 million people, it had planted 350 million trees in one day. If confirmed, the act would be a new world record.

The BBC investigated the claim, but the verdict was guarded.

Essentially, if what the government is claiming is true (about the number of people involved), then it is possible that the country could have accomplished the task, but it has yet to be independently confirmed.

What has been confirmed, however, is the major effort undertaken by the country earlier this year to make a dent in the massive deforestation and climate change impacting the region.

According to the United Nations, forest cover in Ethiopia dropped from 35 percent of its total land in the early Twentieth century, to slightly more than 4 percent by the 2000’s.

Therefore, the country is aiming to plant 4 billion trees in the next few months, with a target date of October 2020.

To accomplish the massive undertaking, the government handed out seedlings to volunteers across the country prior to the big day, and some government workers were given the day off to assist officials from the United Nations who took part.

The BBC reported that Tim Christophersen, who coordinates work on forests and climate change at the UN, explained that if the event was well organized, such a feat could be accomplished.

“It is not impossible, but it would take a very well-organized effort,” Christophersen said.

He added that realistically, one volunteer could plant 100 trees in one day.

Dr Tefera Mengistu, the National Forest Sector Development Program coordinator for the country, said that more than 23 million people were involved.

However, there are still some questions.

No actual tally of volunteers has been made, and there has not been an announcement about the amount of land used.

Additional discrepancies also exist between official reports.

However, even if the country didn’t make a world record, the effort was lauded by the UN.

You can also contribute to this effort by finding your current carbon emissions with an ecological footprint calculator and then partnering with one of the best carbon offset providers that carry out carbon offset tree planting operations.