Grow trees

Plant and protect trees

It’s no wonder forests are called the lungs of the planet. Trees are very effective carbon capture and storage machines.

As trees grow, they absorb and store carbon dioxide emissions.

The global tree restoration potential report released in 2019 concluded it knows of “no other current carbon drawdown solution that is quantitatively as large in terms of carbon capture”.2

Planting and protecting trees will help get us out of the climate crisis. We need an increase of 1 billion hectares of forest to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2050.3

Better get a shift on then, eh?


Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.

Climate Change

The world's established forests remove 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere, equivalent to one third of current annual fossil fuel emissions.4

A mature tree captures and stores about 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, each year. Which is equivalent to streaming 91 episodes of Orange is The New Black, 6.7 times.5

There are many international tree planting efforts in the works, including the Bonn Challenge where 59 countries have agreed to restore 150 million hectares of forest by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

Whilst many experts agree that trees are the most effective way to capture carbon,3 they also stress that trees should not be considered as the only solution to climate change.

The solution is in reducing our carbon consumption by phasing out fossil fuels3 whilst protecting existing forests and healthy soils.


Forests are home to over 80% of the earth’s land biodiversity.6

Oak trees alone support 2,300 species of plants and animals – 326 of which are entirely dependent on oak for their survival.7

The UK's woodland is home to a whole ecosystem of plants, delicate fungi, nesting birds, elusive mammals and rare insects. Ancient woodland supports more species than any other land-based habitat in the UK. Native woods and trees support a fifth of the UK's Priority Species for conservation.7

Planting the right kind of trees is important. One-third of all woodland wildlife species are in decline due to habitat loss, so new trees must be native and new forests should include different tree species to support healthy biodiversity.


It’s probably not news that trees are good at reducing air pollution. You may be interested to hear how good.

Every 10% increase in green space is associated with a reduction in diseases equivalent to an increase of five years of life expectancy.8

Put simply, the greener your local area is, the longer the people in your community can expect to live.

And, more than a quarter of modern medicines originate from tropical forest plants6, so we need trees for many reasons.


Tree roots store up to 60 times more water in the ground. Useful skills in these climate change days as it reduces flooding and lessens the impact of wildfires.10

The leaves of trees also reduce flooding. Rain hits the tree instead of falling directly to the ground which spreads the effect of the rainstorm over a longer time period. It allows up to an impressive 30% of the water to evaporate back into the atmosphere, without even touching the ground.

In urban areas replacing asphalt with green space and trees could drastically reduce run-off by up to 80%. Meanwhile, trees, shrubs and deadwood along riverbanks and on floodplains act as a drag on flood waters, slowing the flow at times of flooding.10


Offsetting some of your carbon by paying organisations to plant trees on your behalf isn’t a bad idea, as long as you’re reducing your carbon consumption alongside. There are some great companies doing this.

Beware "mitigation deterrence" where promises of cheap and easy CO2 removal make it less likely we will change our behaviour to reduce our carbon footprint and in fact guarantees that we continue to emit carbon.

The market can’t guarantee CO2 removals will match our emissions as, for example, trees might be planted and subsequently lost to wildfire or logging.

Choose your offsetter carefully, as trees may never be planted at all.

Global Goals

In September 2017, an historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the 'Grow trees' pledge, you are contributing to the following SDG targets:

3.9 - By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination

6.6 - By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

13.3 - Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

15.2 - By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally

15.3 - By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world

15.a - Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems

15.b - Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation


Search it

Use ecosia to search the web. They plant trees while you search.

Dig it

Plant a tree if you have the space. Winter is the best time to plant a tree. Follow the Woodland Trust’s guide to choosing the right tree to plant. Then let the Wildlife Trust teach you how to plant and care for your tree or trees.

Community it

Ask your local council how you can plant trees in your community. We’ve heard of neighbours planting trees on their street, and parents instigating tree planting days at schools. Schools and community groups can get free trees from the Woodland Trust.

Volunteer your time to help plant a tree.

Become a Tree Warden and help to protect the trees that you see and love around you

Outsource it

By far, the most effective tree-planting initiatives are those with organisations with access to enough space to plant forests and the knowledge of the best species to grow.

You can support a tree planting project by donating money, volunteering time, or becoming a member of an organisation.

Some good places to start are:

Trillion Trees

The National Trust

The Woodland trust

Trees for Life

World Land Trust