Though the trees were planted some 40 kilometers from here, this photo gives you an overview of the type of terrain involved. At nearly 10,000 feet altitude the region is extremely dry, being in the rain shadow of the Himalaya, relying on snowmelt for most its water. Freak incidents of intense rain can be devastating. Photo: Praveen/Creative Commons
Pakistan may now hold the Guinness World Record for most trees planted in a single day by a single person, but India can now claim the record for most trees planted in under an hour: Yesterday on 10/10/10 some 9,000 volunteers planted 50,000 saplings in just 33 minutes. The event took place on land owned by the famous Hemis Buddhist monastery in the region of Ladakh and was sponsored by the Live to Love Foundation, of the Drukpa lineage.
Hemis Monastery, photo: Madhav Pai/Creative Commons.
That's the rounded off version of events; here's the specifics:
Depending on the source (the Guinness site doesn't have info on the event yet, though officiators were present), either 50,300 or 50,033 willow saplings were planted over 33 minutes and 25 seconds. That beats the previous record, set in Peru earlier this year, where 27,166 saplings were planted by 8,000 people in an hour.
Now, not to knock either attempt in either way, but shouldn't there be some sort of regulation on number of people participating? And if we're talking sheer speed of planting, the Pakistani solder who planted 20,101 trees in one day was going much faster.
In all cases, impressive, very impressive.
A Missed Global Work Party Opportunity?
Though occurring on the same day as 350.org's Global Work Party--and starting at 10 seconds after 10am local time, no less--a quick check of the map of events doesn't list this one. So, perhaps what would have been the single largest event wasn't even registered. Rather, according to the Economic Times, the tree-planting record try was affiliated with the ongoing Commonwealth Games, a sign of trying to green the games.
What planting trees in Ladakh does to green an event in Delhi is beyond me, but it's still pretty cool. I thought helping distribute a couple thousand CFLs to low-income and senior housing centers as part of See The Light 10/10/10 was pretty good, but this is on another level entirely.
Willow Trees Help Mitigate Intense Rain Storm Flooding
In fact, it goes well beyond record setting novelty. There's a very practical aspect to planting willow trees in the high and cold desert environment of Ladakh. While Pakistan was experiencing devastating floods this summer, Ladakh also experienced severe weather, with intense cloudbursts causing flooding. The trees can help mitigate the effects when this happens again.
As commentary in The Hindu Business Line discusses, the willows can help stop soil erosion and stabilize the soil, in addition to helping stop mudslides during cloudbursts.
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More on Deforestation:
Illegal Logging by Pakistan's Timber Mafia Increased Flooding Devastation
Kilimanjaro's Rapid Glacier Melting Quickened Deforestation
Urbanization & Export-Led Agriculture Now Main Causes of Deforestation
More on 10/10/10:
The Global Work Party Begins: Maldives President Finished Solar Panel Installation
Celebrating 101010 At Hayes Valley Farm, San Francisco