Many of you may be aware that since the beginning of 2021, every time we get a new subscriber to our newsletter, a purchase through our shop, or five hours of activity logged to our Strava club leader board, we have planted a tree, in partnership with Eden Projects.
We are committed to our tree planting initiative, as a means to reforest degraded areas, as well as creating biodiversity and offsetting carbon in time as the trees mature. Currently our tree planting takes place in Madagascar, a nation with over 200,000 species of plants and animals that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. Sadly, more than 90% of Madagascar’s original forests have been destroyed, for slash-and-burn agriculture, pasture, firewood, or construction materials. The deforestation has displaced entire animal species and taken away the community’s ability to live off the land.
Eden Projects launched its Madagascar project sites in 2007 by restoring mangrove estuaries in the northwest part of the country. Mangrove forests make up one of the most productive and biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet with the trees dense roots serving as an anchor for the soil and coastline, preventing erosion and creating a barrier against harsh weather. Mangroves grow in a variety of depths of salt water and can absorb up to four times more carbon dioxide by area than upland terrestrial forests. Aside from the environmental benefit these tree planting schemes provide a consistent income to local communities, often in some of the most poverty-stricken areas.
But tree planting isn’t always a good idea. For example, planting trees in peatland, which are a huge natural terrestrial carbon store in the UK, alongside being a significant nature hotspot and a natural form of flood protection, can actually have a detrimental impact on our environment. When planting trees on peatland, ploughing and creating drainage ditches causes the peat to dry out, releasing its stored carbon into the atmosphere, and therefore releasing these stores of carbon and destroying a precious ecosystem.
So far we’ve already exceeded our target of planting 10,000 trees this year, and are expecting to hit over 14,000 by end of the year. As for where we go in future, we’re already looking at increasing our targets, and planning how we make our planting scheme even more impactful both in the rainforests of Madagascar, but also closer to home.