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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

National Tree Day

National Tree Day

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, August 2, 2017/Categories: wildlife conservation, sustainability, environment, adventure , plants

Ancient Tree Mt. Lofty, Playford SA (credit: Australian National Archives)

What if every day were a National Tree Day? Such a case might make a big difference in how we view and treat trees and forests everywhere.

Tree Day is an annual event in Australia, now in its 22nd year. Originally envisioned by Planet Ark, it is as an effort to create positive environmental actions that can involve anyone. It is now the country's largest community tree-planting and nature-care event with service activities programmed for all ages. The goals have always remained the same: to do something positive in local environments, for communities, and to reconnect with nature. More than 4-million Australian's have planted an impressive 23 million trees and native plants in Tree Day projects since 1996.


       Tree and Shrub Restoration Planting on Yorke Peninsula South Australia (credit: National Tree Day)

It may seem unexpected for a continent-sized, highly urbanized, nation of barely 22 million people to declare a day for planting trees but Australia experienced major deforestation in the late 19th to mid-20th Century. Temperate and tropical rainforests across the continent---the world's driest---were often clear-felled for agricultural production and livestock grazing (sheep/cattle) during those decades. Free land was also given to returning war veterans, in gratitude for overseas military service, if the trees and vegetation were cleared and the land planted. In some locales, only remnant pockets of the original tree covered landscape remained. They are now receive protection in national parks and biological reserves, on mountain watersheds, and private property. This situation of local deforestation, conservation concerns for native plants and biodiversity, and combined with a strong Australian tradition of community action allowed Tree Day to develop from the grassroots outward.

An example of one community planting project outside of Melbourne is typical of National Tree Day events that occur nationwide:

It would be a good idea for other countries to pay attention to the actions of the Australians and develop national tree days of their own.



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