Beginning at 7:15 p.m. on 11 August, participants dug holes without using any mechanical equipment for the trees through the night and began planting at sunrise at 6 a.m. the following morning. The trees planted were of species native to the region, mostly fruits and vegetables for consumption by the local population.
They currently hold the Title of Guinness World Records for this astounding achievement.
Dr.Arushi Malik an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) official coordinating the Indian tree-planting drive said, “We just want to plant. This is not about beating or achieving any record. It’s about creating livelihoods and providing the people of Dungarpur with food security.”
The volunteers planted Mango, Neem, Teak and Jatropha trees; all indigenous species that will eventually provide food, medicinal value and timber to the community.
“The land in Dungarpur had become barren as a result of deforestation, and this led to water shortages and food scarcity. By planting trees, we will ensure this does not happen again. It will also help the fight against climate change,” said Dr. Malik.
Once planted, the trees will be ‘adopted’ by local villagers to ensure that they are watered and maintained. The after-care was supervised by the Indian Forestry Service.
“Volunteers gave pledge forms to record their commitment to looking after the trees they planted. We hope that this sense of ownership will make them good stewards of the environment”, added Dr. Malik.
“From the onset, the Billion Tree Campaign has engendered a lot of emulation between communities. In fact, people at the grassroots level often approach the campaign as a competition, and proudly visit UNEP with a sheet of paper listing the trees planted, said Meryem Amar, Coordinator of this global tree-planting initiative.