How does one man plant 152 million trees? No, that’s not the start of a bad joke – rather, it’s an attempt to answer a question that I frankly don’t really have the answer for. But Haidar el Ali, from Senegal, may have the answer you’re looking for. He’s been working tirelessly since 2009 planting Mangrove tree buds.  

Why are Tree’s Crucial For The Climate?

Forests are one of the most resilient habitats on earth, but they’re also consistently being exploited. However, since the scientific community started encouraging reforestation (the replanting of trees), some individuals and communities have been working to rebuild the forests that we’ve lost along the way. 

Trees are crucial if we want to slow the effects of climate change. It’s estimated that 2.4 billion acres of extra forest would pull 25% of carbon out of the atmosphere. This science was partly responsible for the World Economic Forum’s launch of the Trillion Trees project. 

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One Man, A Community And 152 Million Mangrove Buds Planted

So, how does one man plant 152 million trees? With help from his community. As Senegal’s former Minister of Ecology and Fisheries, Haidar el Ali, was able to pull together citizens all over the coast to help him replant 152 million mangrove buds, by hand, in ten years. The mangrove swamp in the region was previously decimated for road building, but the water that came from the swamp was far too salty and nearby produce failed. It wasn’t until then that people decided to rebuild what they had lost. 

Mangroves, like other forms of coastal vegetation, store huge amounts of carbon in their root systems. They filter river mud runoff before it enters the sea, and also absorb the full force of freak tidal waves and tsunamis. They are one of the most important habitats for near-shore wildlife like monkeys, reptiles, crustaceans, birds, and even fish. 

Nearly 70, Haidar made a point of showing off the presence of wildlife returning to the region, and how it could boost the local economy. 

The mangrove is a fantastic ecosystem that attracts rain—and it is well known scientifically that this mud captures methane, and that these leaves capture CO2,” he said. “I take a lot of satisfaction from this. I’m ready to do it every day, all evening, all my life.”

How We Can All Make A Difference Towards Climate Change

With deforestation as rife as ever, asking “How does one man plant 152 million trees?” is a necessary step to evaluating our own contributions to the environment. Of course Haidar el Ali didn’t do it by himself, he had the help of the seaside communities in Senegal, but he decided to take action. Over ten years, that action amounted to 152 million trees being planted. No amount of contribution is too small – it’s time for us to all do our bit to save the damn world. 

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