The UPS Foundation
Planting Trees to Foster a Healthy Future
Forests and trees clean the air we breathe, filter the water we need to survive and harbor treasured wildlife. And today, science shows that natural climate solutions— the conservation, restoration and management of forests and other key landscapes—can deliver up to a third of the emission reductions needed to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century. Reaching this goal is crucial to avoiding the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.
However, forests are disappearing at an alarming rate: across the world, 320 million acres have been lost since 1990. A problem of that size requires ambitious solutions. Since 2013, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and The UPS Foundation have leveraged their global footprints to restore and protect forests where it is needed the most.
The UPS Foundation has contributed funds to The Nature Conservancy in support of our work to restore forests in priority regions. For example:
- In the United States, more than 2.6 million longleaf pine trees have been planted in Georgia. Longleaf pine once blanketed the Southeast but they were harvested for timber and lost to agriculture and urban conversion. Restoring longleaf forests supports wildlife such as gopher tortoises and red-cockaded woodpeckers, and these slow-growing trees store significant quantities of carbon.
- In Africa, millions of new trees have been planted in Kenya and Tanzania, and programs to help farmers better manage their lands to improve water quality have created environmental, economic and humanitarian benefits.
- In Mexico, Brazil, China and Guatemala we’ve undertaken conservation efforts in vulnerable and ecologically important forests.
As part of its Global Forestry Initiative, The UPS Foundation planted 17 million trees in 66 countries across six continents with TNC and other partners. Looking ahead, The UPS Foundation is planning to add to that total, aiming to plant 50 million trees by 2030.
To reach that milestone, TNC and The UPS Foundation are working together to prioritize forest conservation and tree planting efforts in communities where benefits to people and nature are particularly connected, such as Louisville, Kentucky.
The city is facing high rates of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. It also has the fastest-growing urban heat island effect (the temperature difference between the city and the surrounding rural area) in the United States and the worst air pollution among 17 peer cities. Those circumstances make Louisville the perfect laboratory for a scientific study into the potential human health benefits of urban greening. TNC and a host of partners have created the Green Heart Project, which aims to rigorously test the hypothesis that increased neighborhood greening can lower the risk of heart disease and other illnesses. Funding from The UPS Foundation is helping advance this effort, and volunteers from UPS have gotten their hands dirty planting trees in neighborhoods where tree cover is lower than average.
These kinds of collaborative efforts toward global forest restoration are critical for combatting climate change and ensuring a sustainable future for our planet.