There are a lot of tree planting projects around the world that let you easily jump online, donate some money and have them plant some trees on your behalf. Some are bigger and some smaller, some made famous by donations of a million trees at a time by people like Elon Musk or Tobi Lutke, but not so many are in Europe and there is only one that we know of in Lithuania.
Pasodink medį aims to contribute to the fight against climate change, and combat the fact that large areas of forest are cut down in Lithuania every year, by allowing people to contribute and plant a tree for about the same price as a cup of coffee.
The project was started last autumn and until now has received donations to plant just under 2050 trees. That’s a good start but they have much bigger ambitions, the aim is to plant as many new trees as there are people in Lithuania. These trees will be in protected, untouchable forests.
The idea for the project came a year ago when the team behind it noticed the popularity of another similar international tree planting initiative. As Karolis Mirinavičius, the founder of the project explains:
"It has received tremendous support and mobilized people to donate more than 22 million trees. That is more than 7 thousand hectares of forest, or the amount of trees that that will remove as much as 400 million tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere every year. The forest is one of our greatest Lithuanian values, so we believe we can achieve similar results here in our own country”
He goes on to explain that since Lithuania has so far only felt small indications of the effects of global warming, slightly warmer winters and hotter summers, most people have not been prompted to take big actions.
"Personally, we hardly feel these effects, but we have to understand that we are the last generation that can still mitigate the process of climate change before it becomes irreversible. Forest planting is natural, and doesn’t require much investment, but at the same time it is one of the most effective tools in the fight against climate change. To maximize the positive impact of Lithuanian forests on the climate, we must maintain the existing large forested areas, restore deforested areas, and practise sustainable forestry and forest management.
With this initiative, we want to highlight the importance of greenness and sustainability. We want to contribute to solving the problem not just by talking, but by doing real work. To show that planting trees is now simple, meaningful, and an effective way to reduce climate change, which we can all be a part of and also encourage our friends to join, " says Karolis.
Both individuals and companies can donate trees, and you can also give them as a gift to someone else. The whole process is quick and simple, select how many trees you want to plant, pay online, and you will receive a certificate with a unique number by email. Once the trees have been planted donators will receive information about the formation of the new forest and the exact location.
“Of course, the seedlings of trees to be planted are small and you won’t be able to immediately go for a walk in a forest that reaches up to the sky, but in a few years you will already see the young trees getting bigger, and later on a mature forest with its own unique biodiversity, the animals that now inhabit it, and a natural biosphere ", says Mirinavičius.
Forests provide the conditions for some of the most diverse and dense biodiversity of any kind of natural habitat. A single tree can provide a home to hundreds of animals, insects, plants, and fungi. Forest environments promote a comprehensive development of biodiversity, and a safe environment for many species.
The “Pasodink medi” project is being implemented in cooperation with the National Pristine Forest Support Foundation, which seeks to create naturally developing forests in Lithuania that will never be felled or otherwise used for commercial purposes.
"All trees are planted in new afforestation projects organized by the Foundation - it is a concentrated, long-term investment of all of us in Lithuanian forests, which will live a lot
longer than we do, "
Because of the weather and climate conditions in the Baltics, the best time to plant trees in Lithuania is the spring and the project will start planting trees then, this will give them the chance to grow and get stronger throughout the summer so that they are ready to face the winter weather.
"Actually more trees are always planted than ordered, so all of the donators can rest assured that the number of trees that they bought will successfully grow and become mature trees in the future."
Of course, planting the trees is just the beginning, a forest also needs maintenance, especially until the trees mature. Before the winter arrives volunteers and partners, together with the foundation, will take care of coating the young tree shoots with repellents so that they will not be eaten by hungry animals, and any other measure needed to protect them fromteh weather.
The project is is still finding it’s feet, but 2000 trees is a great first step, and they do have exciting plans. As Karolis says: "We want every Lithuanian to contribute by planting at least one new tree - the result would be a big forest that belongs to all of us."