1t.org serves a global movement to conserve, restore and grow a trillion trees by 2030.
Launched at the World Economic Forum’s 50th Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland in January of 2020, 1t.org is designed as a 10-year effort to support the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. 1t.org aims to connect, empower and serve a global movement to conserve, restore and grow one trillion trees by 2030. As a multi-stakeholder platform, 1t.org facilitates the leadership and collective potential of companies, nonprofits, governments, ecopreneurs, academia, communities and grassroots organizations, and individuals to bring about concrete change on a local, national and global level.
As an action-oriented global multi-stakeholder platform, 1t.org aims to connect critical actors worldwide to collectively overcome barriers and harness opportunities that will unlock the change needed to effectively conserve, restore and grow one trillion trees by 2030.
Catalyzing innovative public-private partnerships to mainstream these efforts are at the heart of 1t.org’s program of work, which focuses on:
- Raising Private Sector Ambition and Engagement: 1t.org provides a platform for companies from different industry groups to engage and deliver their highest value to the global forest restoration movement, by making credible commitments, collaborating for quality implementation and drawing on global planning and monitoring tools.
- Scaling multi-stakeholder action in priority regions: 1t.org facilitates multi-stakeholder dialogues on roadblocks in priority geographies, with a particular focus on public-private partnerships, policy levers for systemic change, funding opportunities and mobilizing and engaging youth and grassroots organizations.
- Unlocking innovative solutions, including through UpLink and the U.S. Chapter Community of Practice: Through Uplink, 1t.org curates a digital platform to crowd-source and celebrate innovative solutions to key challenges. The 1t.org U.S. Chapter will also host a dynamic community of practice to promote efficiencies in forming partnerships, aligning financial resources and policies, and developing technical tools that meet the unique needs of each country that is helping to advance the trillion trees goal.
The first national chapter of 1t.org launched in the United States in August of 2020, catalyzed by strong early interest from the U.S. federal government, other governments at all levels, U.S. based corporations and non-profits, and U.S. civil society organizations.
The 1t.org U.S. Chapter is the first national chapter of the global trillion tree platform. The U.S. Chapter seeks to provide a national-level structure for U.S. entities, and international entities working in the U.S., to engage in the work of 1t.org. Specifically, the U.S. Chapter is responsible for providing coordination, collaboration, progress tracking, and technical assistance among the organizations and individuals engaged in this work. This includes providing the opportunity to make pledges of trillion trees activities through the U.S. Chapter website, tracking implementation of those pledges, and leading communications to elevate awareness of U.S. trillion trees activities. The Chapter will also host a dynamic community of practice to promote efficiencies in forming partnerships, aligning financial resources and policies, and developing technical tools that meet the unique needs of each country that is helping to advance the trillion trees goal.
The daily operations of the 1t.org U.S. chapter are led by a team (the Secretariat) comprised of staff from American Forests and the World Economic Forum. A U.S. Stakeholder Council provides strategic guidance and a dedicated base of supporters for the Chapter.
The 1t.org U.S. Secretariat includes experts in stakeholder engagement, forestry and related sciences, technology and communications. The team supports entities that have or will make pledges; tracks pledges and progress toward achieving the pledges; creates new technical resources and tools; and shares existing resources and best practices related to mapping, monitoring, mobilizing funding, large-scale tree planting and connecting people. This includes convening and managing the U.S. Chapter’s community of practice to provide dynamic opportunities for learning, innovation, and collaboration among participating entities. The Secretariat also manages the U.S. Chapter digital platform—us.1t.org—which includes technical resources and tools, as well as a system for making pledges and tracking their implementation.
A multi-stakeholder, bipartisan U.S. Stakeholder Council made up of senior-level representatives from the public and private sector, informs the strategic direction of the chapter and ensures the chapter meets the needs of all stakeholders involved in the trillion trees community. The members are appointed by the Chapter Secretariat, and will serve two-year terms that can be renewed.
The goal to conserve, restore and grow 1 trillion trees in the decade ahead is based on several bodies of scientific research suggesting that this is a feasible “stretch move” to fulfil the potential of forests to address climate change, biodiversity, and other pressing needs.
The goal to conserve, restore, and grow 1 trillion trees is a global objective for the restoration community by 2030. At the global level, support for this target includes research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab indicating that there were nearly 6 trillion trees on our planet, prior to the Agricultural Revolution 12,000 years ago. Today, there are only an estimated 3 trillion trees, covering about 2.7 billion hectares [around 10.4 million square miles] of land. This study suggested that there is potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land by planting 1 to 1.2 trillion trees. The study recognized the importance of planting and regenerating the right trees, in the right places, at the right time.
There is strong research that underscores the need and opportunities to conserve, restore, and grow trees and forests in the U.S. to help achieve this goal. For example, analysis from The Nature Conservancy (Cook-Patten et al. 2020, currently in review) has suggested that 131 million acres of U.S. land are suitable for reforestation. The need for reforestation is growing rapidly as the impact of climate change steadily increases on U.S. forests—for example, doubling the rate of forest loss in the western U.S. over recent decades. Other analysis of U.S. forests, led by the U.S. Forest Service (Wear et al. 2016), has suggested that tens of millions of forested acres are likely to be developed across the U.S. by 2050, absent increased conservation. This level of forest loss would have significant impacts on carbon stores and future mitigation, habitat, water supplies, and other benefits.
No. 1t.org encourages the conservation of existing forest ecosystems, as well as assisted restoration of degraded forests (such as from wildfires, beetles, extractive industry operations, etc.). These actions complement the planting and nurturing of new trees where appropriate.
The foundation for forest conservation is to maintain existing, healthy forests as forests. This includes maintaining unmanaged forests in their natural state as well as more actively managed forests that are sustainably harvested to produce forest products while maintaining forest cover over time.
This is also appropriate from a carbon perspective. The size of any forest carbon sink is determined by the trees in the ground that sequester and store carbon minus carbon losses to the atmosphere when trees are removed from a forest through tree mortality and wildfires, or forests are permanently converted for farmland, mining, or development, and more. This includes the removal of trees from streets, parks, homes, and other properties in cities.
By combining actions that increase the number of trees (e.g., tree planting) with actions that prevent permanent forest loss, the 1t.org approach serves to ensure a strong net gain in carbon sequestration to slow climate change, while also prioritizing a variety of other environmental and social co-benefits of healthy ecosystems.
Healthy forests are critical to people, biodiversity, the environment and the fight against climate change. But to maintain these benefits, we have work to do. Climate change has supercharged the traditional stressors on our forests. The increasing severity and frequency of wildfires, pests, diseases, and droughts are making it harder to harness forests’ full potential to capture and store carbon.
Healthy forests provide a multitude of services that support stronger and more resilient communities. By improving air quality in cities, storing water and helping regulate weather, protecting biodiversity, mitigating urban heat islands, and offering natural sources of food and medicine – forests are a vital ecosystem that human civilization, business and economies cannot prosper without.
In addition to ecosystem benefits, the economic importance of trees cannot be overstated. Degraded forests pose serious economic risks and loss of livelihoods across all scales of finance: from the individuals that subsist on them to the multinational commodity chains that power global economies.
The bottom line is simple: when forests are lost, we lose these values. When forests are degraded, these values are diminished. When forests are brought back to life, these values are renewed.
In the United States, forestry is highly regulated, and sustainable forestry is the dominant norm thanks to widespread adoption of forest certification. This differs from many countries around the world, where agricultural expansion and illegal logging are main drivers of forest loss and degradation.
The primary sources of forest loss and degradation in the U.S. are conversion for residential and commercial development as well as accelerated forest mortality to climate change-induced wildfires, pests, diseases and droughts. These are issues that can be addressed by ramping up actions to conserve forests (e.g., placing private forests under conservation easements), actions to maintain forest health in existing forests (e.g., sustainability practices and forest health treatments), and more actively planting, re-planting, and regenerating forests it is ecologically appropriate, and using rigorous “right tree, right place” forestry techniques, in urban areas and rural landscapes alike. The goal of 1t.org globally and in the United States is to dramatically ramp up these actions, with the trillion tree goal providing a catalyst and benchmark.
No, absolutely not. Healthy forest ecosystems, including the trees in them, are critical nature-based solutions to address climate change. In fact, science strongly suggests that we cannot successfully address climate change without a contribution from forests and other natural systems. But we must also rapidly and significantly decarbonize across all sectors. We must have reduced carbon emissions from sectors such as power and transportation to successfully slow climate change.
Investing in trees and forests alone are not enough to solve climate change. Rapid and significant emissions reductions can and must happen through the decarbonization of all key industry sectors (e.g., energy, transportation, heavy industry and the financial sector).
With that said, trees and forests do make a substantial contribution toward addressing climate change. U.S. forests and forest products currently capture and store 15% of U.S carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion each year. Some research has suggested that U.S. forests have potential to capture nearly twice as much CO2, if we take actions like planting the right trees in the right places, using science-based best practices to manage forests, and keeping forests as forests instead of converting them to other uses.
Trees and forests are a critical nature-based solution to capturing greenhouse gas emissions that can be deployed today. Research led by The Nature Conservancy suggests the potential for U.S. forests to capture nearly twice as much if we responsibly plant more trees, utilize climate-smart practices to manage our forests and take other actions. One mature tree can capture an average of .62 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) over its lifetime. That is equivalent to the carbon emissions from driving one car 1,500 miles.
And we are not just talking about big forests in national parks and rural mountain communities. Trees in metropolitan areas and small towns in the U.S. are responsible for almost one-fifth of the country’s annual forest carbon sequestration and storage. These urban and community trees also shade buildings in the summer and block wind in the winter, which reduces the use of air conditioners and heaters—further avoiding carbon emissions. One study from the U.S. Forest Service (Nowak et al. 2017), found that these energy savings equated to a 7.2% reduction in national residential energy use for heating and cooling.
Trees make us healthier and more resilient as we face global health threats like the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, trees reduce air pollution, heat risk, and help to provide clean and stable public water supplies.
Trees are critical to public health. This includes reducing air pollution and heat stress in cities and towns, two threats that have been shown to exacerbate the health risks of COVID-19. In cities, trees reduce heat islands and have been shown to improve our mental and general health. They offer key services like clean water, soils and air. Forests are a treasure trove for innovation, propelling new drug discovery. Investment in restoration propels eco-preneurship and new jobs.
Specifically in the U.S., trees absorb 17.4 million tons of air pollutants, preventing 670,000 cases of asthma and other acute respiratory symptoms annually. In cities nationwide, trees have been shown to prevent approximately 1,200 heat-related deaths and countless heat-related illnesses annually.
People benefit from a mental health standpoint, too. A 2012 study in Chicago showed significant improvements in mood and memory after walking in nature, and a 2015 study found time in nature can reduce rumination, the pattern of repetitive thought associated with depression.
Healthy trees also are a way to spur the economic recovery desperately needed in the U.S. because of COVID-19. Restoring healthy forests creates jobs – every million dollars we invest in tree planting and other forest restoration activities creates almost 40 jobs. This includes jobs such as tree maintenance and making products out of reclaimed wood.
This ambitious target for the global restoration movement can be met through actions that conserve forests that already exist by slowing deforestation, help restore degraded and unhealthy forests, and lastly by growing the right tree species in the right places.
1.torg has been designed to serve the global trillion trees community. In support of this ambitious target, 1t.org aims to empower organizations and individuals to more effectively undertake needed actions so we can achieve the trillion-tree ambition.
In brief, these activities include:
- Permanent conservation of existing trees and forests (e.g., placing rural working forests under a permanent conservation easement; urban street tree protection through a city ordinance)
- Restoring and growing trees, including reforestation on degraded forestlands, tree-planting schemes on suitable agricultural land (such as agroforestry and silvopastoral strategies), and urban tree planting
- Supporting activities for trillion trees that enable the entire 1t.org community to build better systems to further catalyze progress, such as nursery development, technology tools, technical assistance, markets and innovation, educational programs, and workforce development
Everyone – no matter where you live or how young or old you are – can join the movement and get involved in 1t.org:
- By making financial contributions to support the entities making credible pledges.
- By your own personal actions to conserve and plant trees in your community.
- By encouraging your city council, employer, civic organization or other affiliated entities to submit a pledge to 1t.org.
- By participating in the Trillion Trees Challengevia UpLink, a digital platform to crowdsource top innovations for the Sustainable Development Goals. Join the global call for solutions, initiatives, fresh perspectives and ideas to help meet the Trillion Trees goal.
- By helping us raise awareness about the role of the 1t.org U.S. Chapter and the contribution it makes to advancing U.S. leadership in the global 1t.org platform. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to amplify the message of re-greening our planet!
Corporations and NGOs/civil society groups who are ready to commit to conserve, restore and grow trees at a significant scale are encouraged to submit a pledge to 1t.org through our website. These same entities are also encouraged to help shape and supercharge the trillion trees movement and their own activities by joining our community of practice.
By advancing a portfolio of trillion trees activities, companies, NGOs, and civil society groups (e.g., youth groups, faith-based organizations) can pledge to help achieve the trillion tree goal by 2030. This includes helping to slow climate change while also investing in positive ecosystems with a plethora of environmental and social co-benefits.
Pledges can advance actions in diverse ways, including through directly implementing these activities on the ground, providing technical tools and support, contributing financial and other support, engaging employees and customers to support, engaging policymakers, and more. Further information on how companies, NGOs, and civil society groups can submit a pledge is available at https://us.1t.org/pledge/.
State and local government leadership has a substantial impact on conserving, restoring and growing trees all across the U.S., and must play a vital role in advancing the trillion trees goal. This will complement actions by the federal government and tribal governments.
State and local governments have long had a leadership role for America’s forests, including the essential role of state forestry agencies as the junction between federal programs and other implementers across the field of forestry. Mayors are playing an increasingly central role in advancing urban forestry with the growth of major urban forestry initiatives in cities across America. This leadership role range from direct implementation of forestry actions by state and local agencies to technical assistance, funding, regulations, and more.
Accordingly, we are strongly encouraging state and local governments to submit a pledge of these kinds of actions to conserve, restore and grow forests, including supporting actions. Further information on how governments can submit a pledge is available at https://us.1t.org/pledge/.
All entities pledging through 1t.org U.S. are encouraged to include a statement on how they plan to uphold responsible and equitable standards when implementing their pledge. This includes “ecologically appropriate and climate informed forestry (e.g., right tree right place)” and “long-term stewardship and capacity.” To help guide pledging entities, we provide two model standards (IUCN and Better with Nature) as resources to consider and select appropriate approaches.
The success of conserving, restoring, and growing forests depends on taking the right approach. First, it is essential that these actions are implemented with ecologically sounds principles—such as only planting trees in landscapes where they are ecologically appropriate. Converting treeless native grasslands into forests, for example, would create ecological damage that would override any environmental benefits the trees would provide.
Further, forestry activities need to incorporate scientific considerations such as “right tree, right place” considerations for planting forests that can withstand future climate change stresses. The 1t.org U.S. Chapter will help provide technical tools to help entities making pledges to address these kinds of technically sophisticated considerations. Further, we intend to use our U.S. Chapter community of practice to catalyze learning and innovation on these technical complexities that are most pressing for entities involved in the Chapter.
The U.S. Chapter is committed to community engagement and ensuring that the benefits of conservation, restoration and reforestation efforts pledged through 1t.org U.S. benefit all stakeholders, including traditionally marginalized communities. This includes taking strong steps to assure that urban and community forestry activities are included, using the lens of “Tree Equity”, historically discriminated rural communities such as Black forest owners in the Southeast, and also special efforts to integrate native and tribal forestry interests.
The top emphasis of 1t.org and the U.S. Chapter is inclusion—we seek to build a trillion trees community that is more inclusive than any prior effort. This includes the range of people, places, and activities that we seek to integrate, and the way that we are engaging those interests.
Our scope of people and places explicitly includes often overlooked priorities like urban and community forestry, native and tribal forestry, and a role for youth, people of faith, and others not traditionally included. By embracing conserving, restoring and growing trees and forests, and the opportunity to pledge supporting activities, we are creating a wide ranging set of activities for interested people and organizations working in these parts of the field to participate.
Importantly, our pledging process asks how local people and communities will be engaged, as we know that even the best intended forestry activities can have unintended and inappropriate outcomes if not implemented in concert and partnership with local interests. Our community of practice will have a focus on learning and innovation on this issue.
The 1t.org U.S. Chapter is committed to carefully tracking progress on pledged activities with your help. Each entity making a pledge will be required to submit and Annual Report, and the data from these reports will be analysed and tracked to assess actual progress accomplished through U.S. Chapter pledges.
For each pledge registered with the US Chapter, we will require a simple annual report to be filed annually. The 1t.org U.S. Annual Report is a simple form for you to report what actually occurred in the prior year, make updates to your pledge, and to account for factors such as tree mortality on planting projects.
It is our intent for the reporting to be concise and efficient, drawing on readily available information and the best available technology tools and science. U.S. Chapter Secretariat staff will be available for technical assistance as reports are completed, and will conduct a desk review of each report. More formal site visits and verification will be conducted by the Secretariat with a small number of pledging entities each year to assess reporting trends and accuracy.
1t.org is a platform to engage the 1t.org community and can neither collect nor distribute donations. However, the U.S. Chapter intends to provide information that will assist individuals who are viewing pledges to make donations directly to non-profit organizations who are leading or helping to deliver pledges.
We will encourage and enable the increased flow of finance towards initiatives that support the 1t.org mission but neither the global 1t.org platform nor the U.S. Chapter will collect and/or distribute funding directly.
To encourage the increased flow of resources between entities, 1t.org encourages collaboration between 1t.org stakeholders to raise levels of commitment and financial support towards our common mission. In terms of U.S. entities, we hope that our U.S. Chapter community of practice will serve as an incubator for new partnerships among entities participating in the Chapter. This might lead to increased financial support flowing to some activities, from one entity to another.
In terms of individual support, the U.S. Chapter hopes that the opportunity to view pledges through our website will help raise awareness of activities that can receive individual donations directly to a participating non-profit organization. To help facilitate this, we are structuring the pledge process and website to make it easy for individuals visiting the site to learn about pledges, identify if a pledge is eligible for donations through a participating non-profit, and how to engage directly with that non-profit to make a donation.