Plant new forests with ForTomorrow

Translated by Emma Finney

We’ve all heard it before: Trees help us stop global warming because they take CO2 out of the air and store it as carbon in their wood. Although there are many new technologies that filter CO2 out of the air, planting trees is still the most efficient and affordable method. Protecting existing forests and reforesting fallow land also allows us to support biodiversity.

At ForTomorrow we make sure that your donation has the best possible local impact.

What do the planting campaigns look like?

We plant mixed forests together with our partner, the German Forest Protection Association. Mixed forests have many advantages: They are much more climate-robust, they offer protection against drought, wind and diseases and promote biodiversity.

Me at our last tree planting campaign putting a young tree into the soil.

Our last planting campaign took place in March last year. Together with Olaf from the German Forest Protection Association we drove past the Lippendorf coal-burning power plant and the United Schleenhain open mine. It’s unreal to see how the ground is continuously bulldozed to mine brown coal. It opens up a huge, deep chasm in the earth. To make this destruction unprofitable, we buy EU emissions rights and take them off the market, forcing the coal industry to reduce the total amount of carbon emissions it is allowed to emit.

Green area with open mine and huge digger in the background
Our forest to be next to power plant Lippendorf.

But today was about what happened next. We went further to an area where brown coal was mined in GDR times. At the time the layers of earth were dumped exactly as they were excavated. Topsoil disappeared, buried under 60 meters of stony, dead earth from deep underground. Only buckthorn will grow on top of it, making a lifeless, thorny thicket where birds refuse to nest. Wild boars are the only ones undeterred.

We planted 4,000 trees including black pine, crabapple, wild pear, and rowan trees.

Woman carrying young trees
Two men planting rows of little trees
To protect the seedlings from overgrowth (from bramble, for example) they must be planted in a row.
Rows of young trees of various sizes
That’s how a new forest can grow. As soon as the forest has formed, young trees will be protected from the older ones.

If you want to visit the area (virtually or in person) you can find it here on Komoot and Google Maps.

Why did you decide to plant forests in Europe? It’s much cheaper in developing countries!

That’s true – it’s much cheaper to plant forests in tropical regions. But it’s difficult to ensure the protection of the forests in these regions. Even if one area is protected and prevented from being cleared, sometimes the area right next to it may be cleared instead. Because of this we think it only makes sense to do afforestation for CO2 compensation in countries where the entire forest area is protected.

For a positive climate effect trees have to grow over a long period of time. When a tree is freshly planted it only absorbs a small amount of CO2. The bigger it gets, the more CO2 it absorbs from the air. However, when a tree is destroyed because of a forest fire or removed due to political decisions the previously absorbed CO2 is released back into the air.

That’s why we’ve decided to plant forests in Europe. European governments are stable and have laws that protect forests. For example, forest fires will be put out quickly and illegal logging is prevented. According to the Federal Forest Act, once a forest is established it must be preserved. That means that after a forest fire the landowner is obligated to replant the forest. Because of this forest areas won’t decrease, but will instead grow. Additionally, we are helping Europe to become climate neutral in the long term.

How do you ensure that my donation is used in the best way possible?

We are a nonprofit organization. All of our profits are used for our charitable goal of climate protection. We also commit to making sure that at least 85% of your donation will go to planting trees and buying European emission allowances. We use the rest for salaries and administrative expenses.