People plant saplings on the outskirts of Prayagraj in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, on July 4, 2021. (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

People plant saplings on the outskirts of Prayagraj in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, on July 4, 2021. (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Citizens planted millions of trees in a few days. (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Citizens planted millions of trees in a few days. (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Some of the new trees will die. But with modern tracking methods and extra care, more trees will survive. (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Some of the new trees will die. But with modern tracking methods and extra care, more trees will survive. (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Trees help keep the air clean for the millions of people who live in India. (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Trees help keep the air clean for the millions of people who live in India. (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Lawmakers, government officials, and volunteers came out to plant trees. (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Lawmakers, government officials, and volunteers came out to plant trees. (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

By the Millions: People and Trees

Posted: September 1, 2021

“He who plants a tree, plants hope.” — Lucy Larcom, teacher and poet

How many trees can a million people plant? Organizers of a tree project in India expect to organize that many folks. Their goal: Get 250 million life-giving trees into the ground.

All manner of India’s citizens are getting involved. Lawmakers, government officials, and volunteers swarmed riverbanks, farms, forests, and school and government building sites to plant. They dug holes for young trees called saplings in 68,000 villages and 83,000 forest sites in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state.

India promises to keep planting trees. That’s important for the country—and for the world. More than a billion people live in India. And the population is growing quickly. More people means more building projects. Building puts stress on land, water, and air. More trees are needed to keep the environment in balance.

God covered the face of the Earth in trees. He had really good reasons for giving His world so much plant life. We read about the very first trees God made in Genesis 2:9. It says, “And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.”

India started the tree-planting drive four years ago. “We are committed to increasing the forest cover of Uttar Pradesh state to over 15% of the total land area in the next five years. In today’s campaign, over 100 million trees will be planted,” says Manoj Singh, a senior state forest official.

Not all the new trees will make it. Usually, only about 60% of the saplings thrive and grow. The rest often die due to disease or lack of water.

So caring for the trees is getting more modern. Many saplings now are tagged with QR codes. These can be scanned to show important information. That lets scientists see how a tree is doing. Is it growing? Does it have enough water? State Forest Minister Dara Singh Chauhan says that the sapling survival rate in the past four years has gone up to 80%.