QUITO – The government of Ecuador will deploy 35,000 volunteers to plant more than 350,000 trees at 150 sites across the country on May 16 in an attempt to set a Guinness record for tree-planting.
Environment Minister Lorena Tapia provided details about the “Siembraton” (Plant-a-thon) at a news conference that included a video-link from Mexico with Carlos Martinez, the Guinness World Records director for Latin America.
Martinez said Ecuador’s plan is more ambitious than any previous effort along these lines.
Turkey holds the current Guinness record for tree-planting, with 10,624 people deployed, but the Turkish initiative was not as extensive in geographic terms.
Tapia said the Ecuadorian government has invested $74 million since 2008 in reforestation efforts and has set a goal of “zero deforestation” by 2017.
Between 1990 and 2000, Ecuador lost roughly 92,000 hectares (227,300 acres) of forest annually, a pace of deforestation reduced to about 65,000 hectares (160,000 acres) annually between 2000 and 2012, according to Christian Teran, undersecretary for natural heritage at the Environment Ministry.
Since 2012, the pace of deforestation has declined to around 47,000 hectares (113,000 acres) a year.
Ivan Proaño, a representative of Ecuador’s Scout movement, said his organization will mobilize 7,000 members for the Siembraton, an event sponsored by Nestle.