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#ItStartsWithATree Building Resilient Communities with The Caterpillar Foundation

by Kaylee Brzezinski September 30, 2021 5 min read

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#ItStartsWithATree

Reforestation contributes to achieving all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which is why we are thrilled to support The Caterpillar Foundation with their ongoing sustainability initiatives through tree planting. In April, the philanthropy sector of Caterpillar Inc. announced a $1 million dollar investment towards reforestation around the world in partnership with One Tree Planted. 

In celebration of Caterpillar’s 95th anniversary, The Caterpillar Foundation and One Tree Planted are committed to building resilient communities through planting trees in 95 different locations around the world. From Miami to Moscow and Ghana to Guatemala, this endeavor will make a huge impact. To ensure that the projects are nothing but ecologically beneficial, we work closely with community members who are experts to the landscapes. In total, there will be approximately 280,000 trees planted, restoring approximately 620 acres of degraded land. Let's take a look at some of these incredible projects that are now in progress or complete. 

three people planting trees
two people holding trees

Supporting The Bees in Chile

4,000 trees were planted in the Nonguén National Park which is home to a very important watershed because it supplies water to more than half a million people. Unfortunately, this area has historically been threatened by bushfires and illegal logging. This initiative will contribute to actively restoring areas of this national park that are cherished by many citizens of Concepción. 

Planting trees here will be a great contribution to the protection and restoration of new green areas to be made available to the community. This is crucial as Chile falls under the minimum recommendation set by the World Health Organization of how much green space should be accessible to citizens in order to improve and maintain good health. 

In addition, 4000 trees were distributed to over 100 beekeepers around Concepcion, all who have a fundamental role in protecting the habitat and reproduction of bees. These trees will help them reactivate their local businesses that have been greatly affected by bushfires from recent years. The pollinating capacity of bees generates a global positive effect on the entire environment as well as local ecosystems. Not only will the bees benefit from these trees, but the reforestation of the Nonguén National Park will contribute to the protection of other species' habitats, such as the Pudú, fox, Monito del Monte, Darwin's frog, several species of birds, and many others!

man planting mangroves
woman holding mangrove seedling
people planting trees

Mangroves In Guatemala

Planting for this project is taking place in a mangrove forest along the southwest Pacific Coast of Guatemala in San Marcos. More specifically, planting will occur over 45 hectares within the Manchón Guamuchal Natural Reserve — the largest remaining mangrove forest of significant biological importance to Guatemala and the region. This area is designated as a Ramsar Site, which means that it is on the list of Wetlands of International Importance and has national and international commitment to its protection. Mangroves are truly the guardians of our shores. Mangrove trees have gained popularity with tree lovers around the world as they are incredibly beneficial to their native landscapes because they protect our coastlines from erosion, filter pollution from water, restore biodiversity in marine ecosystems, and store 5 to 10 times more carbon than land ecosystems. In addition to these benefits, planting mangroves makes for a great solution to combat the rising sea levels and extreme storm surges that are brought on by climate change.

people standing in front of a sign in Nigeria
woman kneeling planting a tree

A Memorial Forest in Nigeria

As part of a larger memorial forest initiative, 2,000 trees were planted to remember the lives lost throughout the states of Nigeria due to the COVID-19 virus. The native tree species planted were carefully selected to promote a range of ecological benefits and to achieve the restoration goals of this project. The selected planting site in Port Harcourt was located on degraded University land from an infrastructural development plan that was never completed. The project sought to convert the land into a green park for residents and students to enjoy. In the long-term, the hope is that these trees will enhance biodiversity and create habitat for wildlife.

Not only will this forest serve as a spot for remembrance, it will also boost the local economy and support women of the community. In addition to the indigenous and ornamental trees planted, the many tropical fruit trees will allow the fruits to be harvested for sale. The Port Harcourt women overseeing these trees will directly benefit from the sales of the fruit and in turn help to advance women economically and improve productivity for women farmers. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), if all women smallholders receive equal access to productive resources, their farm yields will rise by 20-30%, total agricultural output in low-income countries would increase by 2.5-4%, and the number of undernourished people in the world would drop by 12-17%. Some studies even show that if women have access to the same resources as men – all else being equal – their output would actually exceed that of men’s by 7-23%.

australians planting trees
group of tree planters
man and women planting tree

A Global Impact

We say it all the time, reforestation is about more than just trees. And this impactful initiative proves just that. While we've wrapped up some projects so far, but there's still a lot more work to be done. Here are a few more highlighted projects that are involved and the impact they will make:

  • 2,000 trees planted to create jobs, restore soil, and support water conservation in South Africa 
  • Over 300 plants were planted in Alabamato aid in the management of a federally endangered pitcher plant that occurs at the site and to support meadow restoration
  • In Australia, 3,500 trees were planted by community members to help create a safe habitat corridor for koalas and other threatened species to live and move across the natural landscape
  • 1,000 trees planted in Columbiato support community efforts in ecosystem restoration as well has improve watershed health as 70% of the Colombian population receives water from watersheds and cloud forests
  • In Ghana, 10,000 trees were planted for protection against erosion and flooding in local communities as well as to support the city in its battle with urban heatwaves 

We are so grateful to amazing partners like The Caterpillar Foundation who are prioritizing sustainability and the environment. It is so much more than just planting trees. By investing in efforts like reforestation you support global goals set fourth by experts on what is needed to ensure a more green future. These trees will make a lasting impact on both communities and the environment on a global scale. An estimated 7,000 metric tonnes of CO2 will be sequestered per year as a result of these projects. If you would like to join in on making a global impact, consider planting a tree today!

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