More Trees Now (Meer Bomen Nu) collects and distributes unwanted tree saplings to people across the Netherlands to plant.

The small Dutch foundation aims to hand out 1 million young trees to the Dutch people this winter.
The small Dutch foundation aims to hand out 1 million young trees to the Dutch people this winter. (Meer Bomen Nu/ / More Tree Now)

An NGO in the Netherlands has been collecting unwanted tree saplings in a “tree hub” to create new forests across the country.

Volunteers from the More Trees Now (Meer Bomen Nu) gathered thousands of saplings from woodland paths and forests in order to give them away to farmers, councils and landowners, the Guardian reported

“We need more trees for climate change and biodiversity laws,” says Hanneke van Ormondt, the campaign manager of the NGO. 

“Every tree takes up CO2, cools us down, gets the soil healthier, gives out oxygen, provides a home for fauna, birds and insects, cools the cities down and makes us happier.”

The small Dutch foundation aims to hand out one million young trees to the Dutch people this winter, and it hopes the practice will become commonplace across northern Europe.

'Every tree counts'

The Dutch foundation was founded in 2020 partly by coincidence after the Urgenda climate activists organisation won court cases against the government.

“One of the ministries said to me that Urgenda has plans to plant trees but the tree nurseries can’t deliver them,” Van Ormondt said.

Van Ormondt visited Franke van der Laan of the Stichting MeerGroen, another voluntary organisation, who turns a vegetable patch into a tree hub filled with saplings from the 160 hectares where he does forest management in winter. 

"He started with 10 trees, which he gave away at the end of the season, then 100, then 500.”

When Van Ormondt visited the tree hub, Van der Laan had 50,000 saplings, and 20 volunteers planted all of the young trees within three weeks.

A donation from a fruit nursery of 150,000 pear trees that August attracted national attention. 

“We caused traffic all over the Netherlands, with people driving from Limburg to Breukelen! By then, everybody knew us, and a million trees were pre-ordered on the website. We did give away 250,000 seedlings and shoots” she says.

“I think [Meer Bomen Nu] brings more awareness of what we need to do with trees and how every tree counts,” Manou van der Noort, a volunteer said.

European Commission’s executive vice-president Frans Timmermans will replant the first Belgian sapling with Meer Bomen Nu near Brussels on December 11.

Timmermans said the Meer Bomen Nu campaign has found a creative, sustainable and circular way to get more trees planted.

However, the forestry lobby group Fern said that smaller actions don’t mitigate the need for large-scale government action.

Source: TRT World