The Commission has proposed a dedicated EU forest strategy for 2030 to improve the quantity and quality of EU forests. It includes a roadmap outlining how the Commission will help to achieve the 3 billion additional trees pledge.
Why plant 3 billion additional trees?
Forests are a key part of the solution to combat climate change and biodiversity loss. Planting 3 billion additional trees across the EU by 2030 will
- increase the area of forest and tree coverage in the EU
- increase the resilience of forests and their role in reversing biodiversity loss
- mitigate and help us adapt to climate change
In the EU, it is estimated that almost 300 million trees have grown each year between 2010 and 2015.
The aim is to double these numbers so that we reach 600 million trees grown per year. This means we would have 3 billion additional trees by 2030 compared to the “business as usual” scenario.
How can we achieve this target?
The additional trees need to be planted and grown in full respect of ecological principles. This means that the right tree has to be planted in the right place and for the right purpose. This requires long term planning and monitoring.
In practice, this means planting the right mix of tree species not only in forests, but also in agroforestry, agricultural and urban areas. No trees should be planted in areas of high nature value such as mires, bogs, fens, wetlands, peatlands, and grasslands. Tree planting is particularly beneficial in cities, while in rural areas it can work well with agroforestry, landscape features and increased carbon sequestration.
How will it work?
Some answers to your questions:
Anyone can plant a tree! To achieve this ambitious target, we need motivated Europeans to plant trees and make sure that they grow over time. Tree planting requires everyone involved to work together and the success of the pledge depends heavily on grassroots initiatives. Individuals, landowners, associations, companies, and public bodies such as cities and regions are all encouraged to participate in the initiative.
See Annex 2 of the staff working document for a list of organisations that are already active in tree planting in the EU.
The pledge of 3 billion additional trees will be carried out with a long-term planning and monitoring scheme. This will ensure that the trees are not only planted, but are also allowed to grow over time and thrive in a changing climate.
The European Commission will count and monitor the progress. It will provide political and technical support, communication and labelling, and will work alongside the European Environmental Agency on a user-friendly counting and monitoring platform called Map My Tree.
In order to count towards the pledge, tree-planting initiatives must
- plant additional trees compared to a “business as usual” scenario (see Subsection 1.1.3 of the staff working document).
- benefit biodiversity and the climate, and in particular exclude the planting of invasive alien species
- plant only native tree species unless it can be demonstrated that they are no longer adapted to projected climatic and pedo-hydrological conditions
What else is the EU doing to protect forests?
This pledge will not solve the climate nor the biodiversity crisis on its own. Planting new trees is not an alternative to preserving existing trees, but a complement to broader conservation action. The Commission is taking further action to improve the quality and quantity of EU forests through the new EU forest strategy for 2030. This strategy aims to increase forest coverage in the EU whilst respecting ecological principles, and improve the resilience of forests in the EU. It includes commitments to strictly protect remaining EU primary and old-growth forests, ensure that forests are managed sustainably, and improve the monitoring of EU forests.
- 3 billion trees pledge – factsheet
- 3 billion trees pledge - roadmap
- 3 billion trees pledge – staff working document
- EU forest strategy for 2030 and webpage
- Public consultation summary and evidence base - staff working document
- EU biodiversity strategy for 2030
- Advocacy Toolkit for Nature in EU languages, and also in Arabic