Greenland is the largest island in the world. Even though the country is 80% covered by ice, large areas along the coast are ice free due to milder climate conditions. In south Greenland, summer temperatures can exceed 20 °C / 70 °F and winters are warm enough to sustain plant life.
While Greenland may be thought to lack trees, today the island is host to a growing population of shrubs (birch, alder, rowan and willow) and trees planted by people. Climate conditions have been warming the past 150 years and increased rainfall has made southern Greenland an excellent site for tree growth today. In fact, since 1953, people have added an estimated 300.000 trees in several locations across southern Greenland.
Greenland Trees sets out to plant Siberian Larch trees in south Greenland. We are not introducing new, foreign species – these trees already exist in the region. We obtain seedlings from nurseries in Iceland and transport them to neighboring Greenland by ship.
In planting the trees and maintaining the plots, we receive excellent support from the local community. Greenland youth assisted tree planting efforts in the past, sponsored by the south Greenland municipality and getting some financing from supermarket chain Brugseni. Having a Greenland resident in our team is a great way to engage and create enthusiasm among the people who live in the region.
Our aim is to plant 10.000 trees in Greenland in 2019 (with many to follow in years to come). This forest, when fully grown, will have withdrawn at least an estimated 2.000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. This roughly equals the carbon injection into the atmosphere of 1.000 people traveling between San Francisco and London, and back.
Protecting our investment
The forest we plant will persist long after our lives come to an end. We at Greenland Trees have received the guarantee from the Greenland government that the trees we plant will stay there for their entire life cycle. There is so much space in Greenland, and trees are such a special sight in the country, that there is no imaginable need for these trees to be removed by humans – ever. Better yet, the forest area will increase once the trees propagate as they have begun to do from trees planted in Greenland 50 years ago.