Hello! Let’s go a little greener. I will start (or at least attempt to start) 365 stories about reforestation, one for each day of the year, in order to promote (not commercially) the efforts being taken around the world to plant more trees and revive forests and forest ecosystems. As you know, world’s forests are dwindling at an increasing rate – not only rainforests of the tropics, but also forests in places that do not necessarily get as much attention, but are equally important in maintaining biodiversity, allowing for carbon intake and storage, providing livelihood and recreation for people and shelter for the wildlife, and so on. I hope you share your #reforestationstories and bring them into wider knowledge! So please, participate by writing to forestbathingfinland[at]elisanet.fi or to the Forest Bathing Finland’s Facebook page, telling your own reforestation story or pointing to someone who is involved in reforestation efforts in one way or another! All stories are welcome, but spammers and fakers are ruthlessly blocked and reported! The stories will appear after review and possible editing on this page in numerical order from 1 to 365 (obviously).
— Mikko Aslak Lemmetti | Forest Bathing Finland
Story #1: Trees Forever
The Trees Forever is a non-profit organization based in Iowa, US. With a slogan ”Planting a better tomorrow”, the organization has roots as far back as the 1989, and is currently involved in various efforts that range from growing, maintaining and preserving woodland areas and forests to educating people about benefits of forests and biodiversity, buidling a community spirit, and so on. The full description of the Trees Forever organization can be found at their website: http://www.treesforever.org/Home. This is not the actual story, though, but the story is one brought to my attention by Ms. Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, MD via Instagram, where she pointed out that there was a so-called Derecho storm in Midwest USA in August 2020, where extremely strong and continously blowing winds decimated a major portion of the trees in the Cedar Rapids area in Iowa, not to mention other damages in the Cedar Rapids area and in the other regions in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Nebraska (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_2020_Midwest_derecho).
Damages caused to trees and forests by non-biological factors are called abiotic disturbances (or abiotic forest damages). The abiotic disturbances, according to FAO can be:
Anthropogenic* – fire, oil spills, air pollution, radioactive contamination
Climatological – drought
Geophysical – tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions
Hydrological – floods and flash floods, avalanches, landslides and mudslides
Meteorological – cyclones, storms (wind, snow, ice, hail, dust and sand), tornadoes, thunderstorms and lightning.
The ones in the Midwest USA caused by derecho fall into the last category, but same type of damages can occur anywhere else, and they seem to be on the increase due to climate change. Storms are getting more frequent (although some say that the amount stays the same), more violent and more destructive, which means that their impact on forests is more severe as well.
Trees Forever has launched a campaign called Planting Hope in order to re-plant trees in Cedar Rapids, and the campaign hopes to involve ordinary citizens, other organizations, support groups, etc. to help to recover from the storm and to help plant new trees in order to restore the green areas and, ultimately – hope for the future.
You can read more about Derecho by typing in the keyword in your preferred search engine, as well as find out about Trees Forever and other similar efforts to make Earth green again! This is a good start to the 365 Reforestation Stories, and there’s more to come!
If you find errors or misinterpretations etc. in the text, please send a comment via e-mail or through the Facebook page, so I can get it straighted out, thanks!
Story #2: Reforesting Scotland
As some of you might know, Scotland used to be a very forested region; after the last Ice Age with boreal coniferous trees and later with species that are common to a more temperate climate – until about 5,000 years ago. Since then, the forest cover has been on a decline, and the area covered by forests in Scotland was down to an astonishing 5% during the early 1900s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forestry_in_Scotland). After that, though, things have fortunately improved, and according to the same source (ibid.), the forest cover was up to 18.5% in 2019. For comparison, Finland has about 65% of land area covered by forests, and Russia around 50%, for example.
The decline of Scotland’s forests was due to many different factors such as the emergence of agriculture and industry where woodland areas were turned into farmland and trees were used as timber or for charcoal as fuel. However, replanting trees has been conducted throughout the last few centuries, and in 1919 the Forestry Commission was established to address the need to grow more timber which was in great demand during WW I, and the need was dire again during the WW II.
After that, and until the recent years, the forested area has steadily grown, but not as much and as fast as many would have hoped.
Established in 1991, and the base of operations located in Edinburgh, Reforesting Scotland is one of many organizations involved in promoting forest life and forest living in a sustainable way, and reforestation is one of its many goals. According to its website, Reforesting Scotland aims to:
- Promote a sustainable forest culture and economy in a well-forested land
- Develop the use of locally-produced forest goods and services
- Encourage social and ecological restoration in forests and in wider land use
- Raise awareness of the benefits of low-energy living based on woodland resources
- Place the Scottish forestry situation in an international context.
As I am waiting for a reply from the staff of Reforesting Scotland, the remaining section of the Story #2 will be updated as more information becomes available. Until then, you can check the Reforesting Scotland’s website for details on their work and ongoing projects. [this post last updated: Jan. 7, 2021]