So it’s one thing saying we want to plant trees; it’s quite another actually doing it. Turns out, repopulating the planet with trees is not as straight forward as one initially thinks – even for people in the tree-loving business! There are a series of challenges one faces, not least knowing who to plant trees with. There are so many considerations – which project to support, is it genuine, does it help the local community, does it maintain the trees, does it encourage natural seed dispersal? Crikey! To do it right! So many questions, not enough advice. Apparently loving trees and wanting to plant a million is not quite enough!

One good place to start, therefore, is to team up with people in the know. There’s little point blindly making internet searches into nowhere when there are others out there who make it their business to know exactly what is needed, where conservation and reforestation is required, and why. What’s more, they know which questions to ask and how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

And so we’re teaming up with James Borrell, a young, dynamic NERC funded PhD student, who describes himself as having a passion for adventurous expeditions and conservation work. We checked him out and found his TEDx lecture on whether of not there is hope for conservation inspirational – we recommend it! Here is a man who has been around the world, interested in mapping genetic diversity, ecological modelling, habit fragmentation, population genetics, gene flow, introgression and hybridisation – whatever that all means! But looking past all the long words and complex terminology, we met up with him in Queen’s Wood in North London and it became very clear that that James loves tree conservation, knows his stuff, and wants to collaborate with Tentsile. And that’s all we needed to know. Here is a man who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk, and walks it in the way we want it walked. He is on the forefront, he is up to date with current research, he is in the know about why certain areas need protecting, where reforestation is vital, who is genuinely worth supporting, and how best to go about it without simply gimmickifying our efforts. Certainly, he is a very useful start to our 2017 #BecomeOneOfTheMillion pledge to support tree-planting across the world.

And so we now have a direction, even if we don’t end up at the destination. The #BecomeOneOfTheMillion pledge was to support a tree planting project on every continent (yes, except Antarctica!), and we now have a fairly good place to start. 



Jethro Shirley-Smith