An important new report shows that at least 30% of the world’s wild tree species are threatened with extinction, posing a risk of wider ecosystem collapse. Almost 500 species are on the very edge of extinction, the report warns, each with fewer than 50 individual trees remaining. Life-Based Learning promotes an appreciation of the importance of plants and of nature. Taking part in tree-planting schemes is a relatively simple but positive step that we can all take — including schools and individual families — to make a difference, to help tackle the threat to trees and the wider ecosystem and to safeguard our future.
The report, called State of the World’s Trees, is a five-year international study. It says that, of the globe’s 60,000 tree species, 17,500 are currently at risk of extinction. “That means there are twice the number of threatened tree species globally than threatened mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles combined.” The biggest threats to trees globally are forest clearance for crops (impacting 29% of tree species), logging (27%), clearance for livestock grazing or farming (14%), clearance for development (13%) and fire (13%).
Despite the report’s gloomy findings, it indicates that there is hope for the future “if conservation efforts continue and further action is taken”. One of their recommendations is to provide education “to ensure reforestation and tree planting schemes are carried out scientifically, with the right tree in the right place, including rare and threatened species”.
In a recent blog on active citizenship we wrote the following:
Active citizenship is all about engagement and participation … Evidence suggests that active participation — doing something positive, however small — is good for our mental health and wellbeing and helps to dispel the fatalistic notion that individuals are powerless in the face of the great problems and challenges that confront us.Helping children to learn about active citizenship
The report makes clear that this is a global problem requiring global action, including at the highest levels of government. But this does not mean that ordinary citizens are powerless to act. Taking part in tree-planting schemes is an excellent way for families, schools and community organisations to do their bit to help tackle the risk of tree extinction and to support nature and the environment more generally.
We have already highlighted the excellent BBC Plant Britain scheme, which was launched in 2020:
We launch with the goal of planting 750,000 trees — one for every UK primary school starter in 2020. From inner city estates to some of Britain’s most breath-taking landscapes, it doesn’t matter where you live. And however small a space you’ve got to plant, we can help. What about your own micro-forest in a window box?from the BBC Plant Britain webpage
The Woodland Trust website offers excellent support and guidance on basics such as how to plant a tree, where to plant a tree and which species are best to plant where. The Woodland Trust also runs a scheme offering free trees for schools and communities.
The UK needs millions more trees to reach its 2050 carbon net-zero target. By digging in with us, you’ll help bring us nearer this important goal.from the website of the Woodland Trust
Perhaps most exciting of all for UK residents is their Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) campaign, a tree-planting initiative to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Everyone across the UK is being invited to plant trees from October 2021, when the tree planting season begins, through to the end of the jubilee year in 2022.
Plant Life is one of LBL’s nine curriculum themes. Along with Animal Life and Physical World, it ensures that children learn the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to enable them to live sustainable lives in harmony with the needs of the planet.
The image at the head of this article is from the website of the Woodland Trust.