Aug 17, 2019 | Updated: 07:24 AM EDT

Ethiopia Plants More Than 350 Million Trees in 12 Hours

Aug 14, 2019 08:14 AM EDT

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As each and every nation in the world is investing in the future of Earth, Ethiopia has pushed themselves in to the front of the pack. Way out in front to be honest.

Just last week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spearheaded a new world record by planting 350 million tree seedlings in 12 hours-353,633,660 to be exact. The previous world record for a national tree planting in a day was held by India, who set the record back in 2016 when they planted 50 million trees.  

Mr. Ahmed hopes to curve the effects of deforestation and climate change in the country as Ethiopia has a long history of frequent and severe droughts.

The tree-planting project is part of the Prime Minister's Green Legacy Initiative, which is being held in over 1,000 areas in Ethiopia. It was reported that government offices were closed Monday in order to allow for civil servants to take part in the exercise.

While this record is astonishing, the Prime Minister and the people of Ethiopia are only getting started. The project has a goal of planting four billion trees by the end of the summer, says Dr. Getahun Mekuria, Ethiopia's minister of innovation and technology.

According to the UN, Ethiopia's forest coverage has seen a drastic decline, dropping nearly 30 percent in the past century from 35 percent to a mere four percent in the 2000s.

Dr. Dan Ridley-Ellis, the head of the center for wood science and technology at Edinburgh Napier University, told The Guardian: "Trees not only help mitigate climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air, but they also have huge benefits in combating desertification and land degradation, particularly in arid countries. They also provide food, shelter, fuel, fodder, medicine, materials and protection of the water supply. 

"This truly impressive feat is not just the simple planting of trees, but part of a huge and complicated challenge to take account of the short- and long-term needs of both the trees and the people. The forester's mantra 'the right tree in the right place' increasingly needs to consider the effects of climate change, as well as the ecological, social, cultural and economic dimension."

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