Tree planting is a technique consisting in transplanting tree seedlings over an area for different purposes (such as forestry, land reclamation or landscape restoration). One can refer to tree planting technique with the name of afforestation or reforestation. Afforestation indicates that the area being planted has not been recently forested. Reforestation indicates the area being planted was forested in the recent past. In the field of landscape restoration, tree planting is a means to tackle soil erosion to reduce the risk of floods and landslides. Tree leaves provide protection against rainfall; by intercepting rain drops, tree leaves slow down their fall and reduce their erosion power. Tree roots, on the other hand, serve as an anchor for soil, especially on sloping terrains. Planting trees also contributes to prevent soil erosion by improving water infiltration in the ground, so that water runoff will be reduced.
Lastly, trees play an important role in restoring degraded lands, because they prepare the soil for future crops by providing it with organic matter through dead leaves and by fertilizing it through root exudates.
Beyond the landscape restoration field, benefits of trees also range from improving air quality, to protect biodiversity, tackle climate changes and improve people’s health, as well as providing several sources of income: from wood, cuttings to Non Timber Forest Products, such as nuts, fruits or extracts.
The technique of planting trees works great with different and diverse climate conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the tree species that most suite the environmental conditions of the area where tree planting is meant to occur. Moreover, in order to increase the survival rates, some practises, like watering trees, might need to be planned in order to improve trees survival possibilities. This can be done only once during the planting or it can be done more often during the early stages after the planting, according to tree’s needs. Fencing might also be needed in order to prevent animals from grazing the young trees.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1991, Chritchley & Siegert, Water harvesting, http://www.fao.org/3/u3160e/u3160e00.htm. Reproduced with permission
WOCAT, 2012, Schwilch, Hessel & Verzandvoort, Desire for Greener Land, https://edepot.wur.nl/212528. Reproduced with permission.