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14 November 2017

New 'Trillion Trees' partnership calls for global efforts to protect and restore one trillion trees

WWF, the Wildlife Conservation Society and BirdLife International today launched the Trillion Trees programme, a new 25-year initiative to help scale global forest commitments and spur greater ambitions towards protecting and restoring one trillion trees by 2050, the number needed to reverse the global decline in tree cover.

The planet is losing 10 billion trees per year, leading to widespread impacts on biodiversity, carbon sequestration, local economies and human health. The Trillion Trees response is twofold: catalysing large-scale investments for projects to protect, restore and replant trees in the most at-risk landscapes and inspiring greater action under private and public forest commitments guided by the Paris Climate Agreement, the New York Declaration on Forests, the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and other frameworks.

The partners, three of world’s largest conservation organisations which collectively work in over 120 countries, will create tailored solutions, including an emphasis on pilot projects that involve corporate actors. Collectively, corporate commodity supply chains are responsible for up to 80 percent of the loss of tropical forests across Asia, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa, the areas most crucial to absorbing global greenhouse gases.

“It’s about the right trees in the right places,” said Patricia Zurita, CEO of BirdLife International. “With responsible land-use comprising almost 25% of the global climate solution, aligning our forest work through Trillion Trees is our contribution to one of the largest societal priorities of the 21st century. Combating forest loss and increasing forest restoration are central to meeting some of the world’s most important environmental goals, and BirdLife is thrilled to be part of this important effort.”

“Many companies and governments already recognise the value that trees hold for human societies and wildlife, which is why so many are committing themselves to zero-deforestation’ policies, said Cristian Samper, CEO for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “WCS is proud to leverage 100 years of scientific and advocacy expertise throughout the tropics to help these partners target their investments effectively to improve global tree cover.”

WWF, WCS, and BirdLife are already jointly advancing some of these activities in high-priority forests around the world, particularly from where palm, soy, beef, and timber products are derived. The policy goals these activities support include the Bonn Challenge to restore 350 million hectares of forests by 2030, the CBD’s Aichi Targets, which aim to halve forest loss by 2020, and the New York Declaration on Forests, which aims to end deforestation by 2030 and also reinforces the Bonn Challenge goal on restoration.

In the coming years, Trillion Trees partners will expand these initial activities and mobilise financing for other priority areas using site-specific solutions. Recognising the value of trees, the partners will leverage a combination of better forest protection, assisted natural regeneration and the replanting of trees to develop successful 'proof-of-concept' actions that are fundable and effectively increase tree cover. Examples of projects under development include:

  • Supporting long-term financing, expansion and strengthening of the protected areas network in Colombia
  • Scaling up environmental certification in locally controlled forests in Tanzania
  • Supporting the design and financing of large-scale restoration plans for vulnerable watershed areas of the Rwandan highlands
  • Establishing sustainable, deforestation-free models of cocoa production linked to protection of adjacent forests in multiple landscapes in Africa and elsewhere.

“Ambitious forest restoration plans and strategies to avoid deforestation exist around the world, yet on-the-ground implementation and financing of these commitments lag well behind,” said Glyn Davies, Executive Director of Global Programmes, WWF-UK. “Trillion Trees will help achieve global forest commitments by bringing together a diverse group of corporate, non-profit, and community stakeholders to deliver targeted conservation projects and unlock private-public funding."

Approximately half the world’s original six trillion trees have been lost since the beginning of civilisation. Most of the remaining forests have been damaged by industrial-scale human activities, yet still hold more than 45 percent of terrestrial carbon, are home to two-thirds of all land-based plants and animals and support the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people.

Trillion Trees has received generous seed funding from UK-based funders Restore-UK to help conserve the world’s most at-risk trees from further loss and restore critical areas that have already disappeared.

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About Trillion Trees

Vision: By mid-century, through concerted collective action by all sectors of society, one trillion trees have been re-grown, saved from loss and are better protected around the world. Deforestation has ended, significant numbers of trees have returned to areas where they were lost and large areas of existing trees are better protected. These trees, in forests, woodlots and farms, bring multiple social, economic and environmental benefits.

About WWF

WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over five million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

About the Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society is an international conservation body founded in 1895 in New York, dedicated to saving wildlife and wild places. In its strategic vision to 2020 WCS aims to support the conservation of more than 50% of global biodiversity through work in 16 of the world’s most important terrestrial and marine regions spanning more than 40 countries, and to inspire broader global impacts through, for example, scientific research and public outreach.

About BirdLife International

BirdLife International is the world’s largest civil society nature conservation partnership, with 122 autonomous national organisations as BirdLife Partners in 120 countries worldwide and a total global reach of 10 million members and supporters. BirdLife’s Forests Programme prioritises forests of global biodiversity significance, where Partners employ innovative, locally-designed management, financing and governance systems to conserve biodiversity, generate economic benefits and sustainable development and combat climate change.

About Restore UK

Trillion Trees has been initiated by Restore UK, which was established in 2001 as a grant-making charity to invest in the protection and restoration of Britain’s natural habitat. This vision has since expanded to incorporate environmental and biodiversity issues globally.

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