Towards Two Billion Trees – World Wildlife Fund launch a reforestation mission.

Australia’s native forests are home to some of the most unique flora and fauna on the planet.

Nature is being lost at an unprecedented rate around the globe.  Every year in Australia, an estimated 500,000 hectares of native forests and woodlands are bulldozed. That means an estimated 750 million native creatures will die as a direct consequence of excessive tree-clearing by 2030.

Australian Bushfire NSW, © Shutterstock / Karl Hofman / WWF

To make things worse, New South Wales and Queensland are facing some of the most dangerous and catastrophic bushfires along with South Australia and at the time of writing, West Australian firefighters are battling three major bushfires burning over more than 20,000 hectares, with two of them threatening lives and homes.

In New South Wales along almost 1.3 million hectares have been burnt already.  The chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart, estimates that over 1,000 koalas have been killed from the fires and that 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed.

The loss of biodiversity of this magnitude is both devastating and unacceptable and so the World Wildlife Fund has launched an ambitious 10-point plan for the next 10 years, Towards Two Billion Trees.

STOP excessive tree-clearing,

PROTECT our existing trees and forests, and

RESTORE native habitat that has been lost.

Our plan shows how Australia can save and grow two billion trees by 2030,….. This natural climate solution can be achieved by protecting existing trees, allowing cleared forests to regenerate, and planting new trees… Australia was the only developed country listed as a global deforestation hotspot in The Living Planet Report last year. If we were to implement this plan, we would literally shift Australia from being a deforestation nation to a leading reforestation nation, which would benefit our wildlife, climate and people

Dr Stuart Blanch, Senior Manager Land Clearing and Restoration, WWF-Australia

“Our plan shows how Australia can save and grow two billion trees by 2030,….. This natural climate solution can be achieved by protecting existing trees, allowing cleared forests to regenerate, and planting new trees… Australia was the only developed country listed as a global deforestation hotspot in The Living Planet Report last year. If we were to implement this plan we would literally shift Australia from being a deforestation nation to a leading reforestation nation, which would benefit our wildlife, climate and people,” said Dr Stuart Blanch, Senior Manager Land Clearing and Restoration, WWF-Australia.

Dr Blanch also said, “By putting the brakes on bulldozers over the next decade, Australia can save five million hectares of forests and woodlands, protect 500 million trees, conserve 750 million native animals, and cut our country’s greenhouse gas emissions by around 9%.”

WWF will be working with landholders, farmers, Traditional Owners, communities, businesses and government to make the changes needed to move Australia from a country of deforestation to a reforestation leader by 2030.

Koala furniture company founders Mitch Taylor and Dany Milham have  thrown their support behind Towards Two Billion Trees and their company is the first corporate partner to help fund WWF’s tree-recovery plan.

Finance specialist and media personality Mark Bouris, who is also preparing to plant a mass of koala food trees on his farm behind Byron Bay, said this about Towards Two Billion Trees: “It’s an ambitious plan – two billion – and that requires everyone to get on board and send the message out that we should all have a crack at this where we can.”

Mr Bouris wants his grandkids to be able to see koalas in the wild. “This is not about going to a zoo to see a koala, or looking at a stamp to see a koala, or looking at a magazine. We have to do whatever we can to enhance the koala and all the native animals,” he said.

Australia’s forests are our shared heritage and our legacy. If you would like to find out more and play a part in saving and restoring for future generations of people and nature go here.

Image Credits:© WWF-Australia/Veronica Joseph, © WWF-Aus / Leonie Sii, © Briano / WWF-Aus