There's lots of benefits and threats to forest, and given our current, pervasive, and severe ecological challenges, forests are more important than ever. However, it's not obvious what the best strategies are for mass reforestation, either for people vaguely interested in it or for the people who want to be passionately dedicated to it.

For example, if today I want to contribute to mass reforestation, what actions can I take? What about on the scale of a year, or a lifetime? This may make the question somewhat broad, but I envision an answer (maybe best as a community wiki) that lists specific things at different scales, overall answering the question: What are the most effective ways one can support mass reforestation?

3 Answers 3


I'll start with my own answer including some examples I'm aware of to help set context, and I'll highlight in bold some uncertainties. This will be a community wiki so we can build this list together and clarify uncertainties over time.

Actions Today

  • Contribute to non-profits and charities focused on forest conservation, reforestation, and sustainable land use (forest) policy. Many (re)forestation organisations offer the option to compensate your CO2 usage for e.g. flying.
  • Make consumer decisions which are forest-friendly, for example:
    • choosing paper and wood instead of fossil fuel based resources
    • preferring fiber products from certified sustainable forestry
    • Use Ecosia web browser and support other organizations that focus on

Actions This Year

  • Change your diet toward foods that conserve and create new forested landscapes
    • Are there any certifications of agroforestry or conservation agriculture based products?
    • Local diets can be easier to tailor to polycultural farms, which tend to support more biodiversity and trees than monocultures
    • Consuming tree-based foods and using Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) (like maple syrup, forest-grown mushrooms or silvopasture grown animal products) when suitable can support forest enterprises
    • Make your charitable contributions a regular thing, 'set it and forget it'

Actions For Long-Term

  • Work in a career that is based on forested land-use, and maintain or restore forested land in property you manage (e.g. forestry, forest farming, agroforestry). This includes consulting, research, and extension work to help various industries and land-uses be more forest-friendly.
  • Volunteer with community forestry organizations
  • Work in a career supporting forested land-use, conservation, restoration, and sustainable use, either in policy or planning
  • 2
    Most jobs in forestry involve cutting down trees : removal of dead, lightening strike , diseased , wind damaged , and overcrowded , etc. In the" Piney Woods" of southern US , pine bark beetles attack and kill crowded pines, the best control is thinning. I have volunteered with a retired forest expert, mostly cutting and removing storm damage trees; It is much more work that computer games. I have been interested in silvaculture most of my life and planted well over a thousand trees in 4 states. I have about 25 tree varieties on my quarter acre lot. Get out in the woods and enjoy trees. Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 3:21
  • @blacksmith37 it is true that most forestry work involves the cutting, removal, and thinning of trees. But good forestry can be 'pro forest' in the sense that it: 1) makes it economically sustainable (and even beneficial) to keep land forested; 2) produces wood goods which stores carbon and brings the rest of society in closer connection with forests however indirectly; and 3) good silviculture can actually improve forest ecosystem health and net primary productivity over time.
    – cr0
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 14:27
  • Plus tree planting and/or natural regeneration keeps the cycle going. And as you said - working in the woods and enjoying the trees is a solid part of keeping the world forested :)
    – cr0
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 14:27

Buy degraded/abused land in strategic locations (which should be cheap as a result). (Re-)Plant trees. Place a conservation covenant over the property so that future owners are legally required to preserve it.

In Victoria, Australia, organisations like the Trust For Nature can help with this process.

If you're not sure what a conservation covenant is, TFN has produced an easy-to-read brochure:

A conservation covenant (deed of covenant) is a voluntary, legal agreement made between a private landowner and Trust for Nature (“the Trust”). Its purpose is to permanently conserve and protect the natural, cultural or scientific values of the land. The Trust's conservation covenants are entered into under the Victorian Conservation Trust Act 1972, registered on Title and are legally binding forever.


Reforestation is a wishy washy subject. It's difficult, labor intensive and time consuming. But done well you can successfully reestablish forest cover. Jadav Payeng planted an entire forest by himself over 30 years so it's not impossible. If one man can do it in 30 years, 30 can do it in one... Reforestation is achievable in a sequence steps.

  1. Allocate the land you wish to plant. Private property is easier than public, If you own it, you're in charge of it or obtain permission from the owner to do so.

  2. Berm the land so the soil does not wash away. Use geotextile bags, sand bags, rockwalls, or a silt fence.
    A Berm made of silt fence and wire

  3. Build a hill(s): Sounds unusual, but perfectly flat terrain is seldom what you want in an environment. scrap rocks, covered in dirt and built up, even to a moderate elevation.

  4. Determine the trees necessary native to the environment formerly found.

  5. Upon finding the necessary trees, find trees in the "Fabaceae" family. As they are nitrogen fixers they can grow in bad soils.
    Fabaceae roots

  6. Microbe colonization: Mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial bacteria are as essential under the soil as the trees above it.

  7. Fertilize: At this point, once the trees are growing, depleted soils don't regenerate quick enough to support them. It's time to fertilize, that can be done with compost, manure, artificial fertilizer

  8. Water routinely until the tree's no longer require intervention and can sustain themselves on natural rainfall.

  9. At the point the trees are self sustaining, begin planting forbs, herbs, ferns and understory vegetation.

  10. Your forest prototype however is a mono-culture of one tree species. At this point it's necessary to replicate environment of forest succession, by planting other varieties.


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