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4 billion trees down, 3 billion to go

945388_tree.jpgFour billion trees down, three billion to go.

That’s according to the United Nation’s Environment Programme, whose Billion Tree Campaign aims to plant seven billion new trees by the end of 2009.

The four-billion-tree milestone was confirmed this month when the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture verified that 687 million trees were planted in 2008 under the country’s nationwide tree planting campaign. A total of  one billion trees have been planted worldwide over the past two months alone.

The total has also been boosted by individual tree planting efforts by people around the world taking part in a global tree planting drive for World Environment Day, a hands-on way for communities to urge world leaders to “seal the deal” at the crucial UN climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.

The campaign hit the three billion mark less than two months ago, when the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forests announced that collective efforts by the Government, NGOs and civil society had led to the planting of over 300 million trees during 2008.

Other recent tree registrations to the Billion Tree Campaign include the China Green Foundation, which has confirmed that it has planted 181 million trees; Peru, with over 41 million trees planted through its National Tree Campaign of Afforestation and Reforestation; Romania, with over 38 million trees planted through its “Millions of Trees Millions of People” national movement; the Armenia Tree Project, which has registered close to one million trees; and the Kenya Commercial Bank, which planted 200,000 trees in Kenya during its 2009 Community Day.

To date, tree plantings have taken place in 166 countries around the world as part of the Billion Tree Campaign. The latest participants in the campaign include the Pakistan Ministry of Environment and Forests, which has pledged to have 120 million trees planted by the end of 2009. In addition, the Ministry plans to launch a 2.3 billion tree planting campaign with a target of increasing the country’s forest cover by 1 per cent by 2015. The Government of Turkmenistan has also joined the campaign with a pledge to plant close to 1.5 million trees this year.

UNEP has also mobilised action across the globe through its Twitter for Trees campaign, in which it pledged to plant one tree for every follower who joined by World Environment Day on 5 June. By that day, 10,300 were following the UNEPandYou page.

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