Miscellaneous

Celebrating Biological Diversity: Why planting a variety of tree species matters?

To mark 2020’s International Day for Biological Diversity, we sat down (virtually of course) with Koen Kramer, Land Life Company’s Head of Resilience Engineering and Professor at Wageningen University, to discuss how we incorporate biodiversity into our work. Our mission is to restore 2 billion hectares of degraded land, and we believe doing this in the right way and maintaining biological diversity is key to successful reforestation.

Why is biological diversity so important in reforestation projects?

Planting a diversity of tree species improves the resilience of a forest, especially when it comes to mitigating future climate conditions (e.g. droughts, flooding and heat). To combat this uncertainty, planting a variety of carefully selected species helps build resilience that can combat this uncertainty.

According to Kramer:
«We don’t know exactly what the climate will bring, but we know it will be more extreme, and ensuring biodiversity helps counteract this.»

Species differ in their response to varying environmental stressors and disturbances. This is one of the main reasons why we avoid monoculture planting (where only one species is planted) because this translates into a lack of genetic diversity — meaning any weather condition, pest or disease can easily wipe out an entire planting site.

Planting a variety of trees also increases fauna biodiversity. By providing a home for a variety of flowering and berry-producing plants, the trees attract an array of insects and birds to the area. With additional fauna, the forest becomes even more resilient to fending off outbreaks of harmful insects and diseases. Having a larger genetic pool makes the ecosystem more intact.

Kramer explains:
«It’s a kind of risk management, so the forest can eventually regulate itself.»

What is Land Life Company doing to ensure future-resilient forests?

At Land Life Company we scope, design and plant our sites with a variety of species. Each type of tree is carefully selected to work within the rules of nature, and together they restore degraded land back to health. Well-thought-out species selection is a key approach to smart reforestation. Growing the right trees means they can resist drought, flooding, insects outbreaks and anything else the future may throw at them, so they can become healthy forests that absorb large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.

Variety of species waiting to be planted in Minawao refugee camp, Cameroon.

 

Our planting site in Tarilonte is a great example of biodiversity. We planted 13 different species here that are drought resistant and deep rooting,  so they store a lot of carbon safely below-ground. They also resprout well after disturbances. Some of the trees we planted include:

  •  Evergreen Oak or Quercus ilex (can withstand droughts and provides good soil replenishment)
  •  Common Hawthorn or Crataegus monogyna (provides food and shelter for many birds and small mammals)
  •  Blackthorn or Prunus spinosa (is a sprawling evergreen shrub that acts as a boundary barrier and is able to reclaim barren land)
  •  Snowy Mespilus ‘Edelweiss’ or Amelanchier ovalis  (its pome fruits are edible, both raw or cooked)
  •  Alpine Buckthorn or Rhamnus alpina (a flowering shrub that is considered a medicinal plant for indigestion).

From soil health to tree species diversity, we ensure that all of our plantings have the best possible chance to survive current and future climate conditions, while benefiting local fauna and the people who live near the plantings. Customers who plant trees or offset their emissions with us, have the added benefit of viewing a list of the diverse species planted at their specific planting sites.

From all of us at Land Life Company, Happy International Day for Biological Diversity!