New Zealanders are being challenged to plant 4.7 million native trees next year – one for every person in the country. This is the first step in an ambitious plan to create a movement where all Kiwis come together to help restore and enhance our environment, encourage biodiversity in our cities, clean our air and waterways and make a difference to climate change.
The challenge comes from Trees That Count, an innovative project being launched today (3 November 2016). Funded by The Tindall Foundation, and delivered by Project Crimson Trust in partnership with Pure Advantage and the Department of Conservation, Trees that Count aims to keep a live count of the number of native trees being planted across the country from 2016 and to set a new target each planting season.
Calling on our good old Kiwi ‘can do’ attitude, our love of the nature and the outdoors and our spirit of getting behind a cause, Trees that Count is encouraging people to plant more trees and record them on treesthatcount.co.nz which goes live today, so together we can create a lasting legacy for future generations.
“Although there are thousands of individuals and groups planting native trees, until now there has been no tally of how many. This has made it impossible to measure the impact of all of the great work that Kiwis are already doing to improve the natural environment,” says Joris de Bres, Director of Trees That Count.
“So this year we asked people to tell us how many native trees they have planted and we have counted 3.1 million so far, which is brilliant. But we reckon we can plant even more next year, so we’ve set the target at 4.7 million, taking the total to 7.8 million trees planted and counted over two years. We aim to grow this number each year to make a significant impact on the environment, but we need the support of all New Zealanders to make this happen,” de Bres says.
Trees that count enables the public, communities and corporates to pledge their help. There are many ways to get behind the movement and it’s simple. On the website anyone can pledge to plant trees when planting season begins in April next year, volunteer time, make a donation to pay for trees to be planted in their name or sponsor a whole planting project, gift a tree for Christmas or another special occasions, or pledge land for planting.
The website also provides information and technical advice for people who are undertaking native planting programmes and has inspirational case studies of groups already planting. Over time, the site will connect people so that land owners who wish to pledge land can be matched with nurseries wanting to pledge trees and planting groups volunteering their labour can offer time to put trees in the ground. Everyone can be connected to help each other achieve our ambitious goal.
Sir Stephen Tindall, Co-founder of The Tindall Foundation, is passionate about the project and encourages people to get involved. “Planting native trees in your neighborhood, on your farm, at school or outside your office is one of the best things you can do for the local environment and for the planet. It is also a great way to bring people together and connect with your local community. Trees help record the history of your family and grow alongside you and your kids. I’d love to see our streets, parks, playgrounds, front yards, farms, hillsides and rural areas full of trees and our children able to enjoy all the benefits they bring.”
Trees that Count began when Sir Stephen Tindall had an idea to get a large-scale, native tree planting project up and running. Says de Bres, “We would like to acknowledge Stephen’s leadership on this project and we look forward to delivering on his vision to see millions of trees planted in New Zealand.”
Tress That Count has itself already funded 20 planting projects this year to plant a total of 75,000 native trees – the rationale behind this was to start use the plantings as a laboratory of learning to develop best practice. You can read about these stories on the website.
What are the trees that count?
All trees must be native to New Zealand to assist with restoring and enhancing our environment, our biodiversity as well as impacting climate change.
Additional to native Pohutukawa and Northern Rata (the trees which Project Crimson Trust is on a mission to protect via other initiatives), there are many other native trees that will be accepted for the Trees That Count project.
Some common native tree and shrub species that will meet Trees that Count’s criteria for planting are listed below, but there are many more on the list – the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network www.nzpcn.org.nz is a great website to visit for the full list of eligible trees and shrubs.
- Northern Rata
- The Beeches