Evaluating Global Tree-Growing Efforts: Achievements and Challenges

Planting a new forest, 2011. Photo courtesy of Chris Harris.
Planting a new forest.

Enhancing Global Reforestation: Key Findings

Over the past decade, global tree-growing initiatives have rapidly increased in response to international targets of planting over a trillion trees. Despite the enthusiasm and funding, numerous reforestation projects have faced failures and unintended consequences, prompting the development of best practice guidelines. Schubert et al. (2024) review the adherence of 99 intermediary organizations to these guidelines, shedding light on the gaps and successes in current tree-growing efforts.

The Importance of Transparent Reporting

The study underscores the significance of transparency in reporting best practices for reforestation projects. Clear, measurable objectives and detailed monitoring plans are crucial for funders to make informed decisions and for local communities to understand the impact of their contributions. Despite widespread recognition of these principles, only a fraction of organizations in the study set measurable, time-bound objectives and provide detailed monitoring data.

Current State of Tree-Growing Initiatives

Most planting project managers acknowledge the importance of involving local communities and addressing deforestation drivers. However, the study reveals that only 38% of organizations report quantitative measures of the benefits to local communities. Organizations with greater scientific expertise and past experience tend to adhere more closely to best practices, but even these actors often lack clarity in their long-term commitments to project maintenance and funding.

Actionable Solutions: Leveraging Open Data

To improve global tree-growing efforts, Schubert et al. (2024) recommend enhancing transparency and accountability through standardized protocols and reporting. Organizations should invest in building scientific expertise and engaging local communities meaningfully. Open source data and collaborative efforts are vital in ensuring long-term success and addressing environmental challenges effectively.

Open Source Data & Code

View the open data utilized in this study here.

Authour Profiles

learn more about the authors of this study below:

Spencer Schubert 



Karen Holl


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