Tree-Planting Organizations: 6 Ways to Identify the Best Ones

by | Last updated Feb 8, 2021 | Hacks, Tips and Nature Knowledge | 8 comments

There are thousands of tree-planting organizations all over the planet, and we’re often asked which one is best.

Our counter-questions are: What do you want from that reforestation company? What’s their motivation, and do they have a strategy? And who profits from planting those trees?

To help you decide, we’ve created this complete guide to tree-planting for you. It’ll help you find the best organizations that plant trees in exactly the way you want them to. And then you can quickly help to reforest the planet!

Tree Planting Organizations 6 Ways to Identify the Best Ones

The Best Tree-Planting Organizations

So how do you decide which tree-planting organization is the best? Do they battle it out in a league table, seeing who can score the most points and finish top of the league?

Of course they don’t. But it’s a difficult question to answer all the same. What’s the best car? What’s the most beautiful color? How about the best elephant joke? (Well, actually, we can help you with the last one…)

Identifying the best tree-planting organization depends on your values, your expectations, your preferences, and your desired impact. The organization that plants trees need to be the best one for you.

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To clear a path through the jungle, we’ve structured 6 questions that you should ask yourself before you select your favorite tree-planting organizations and help reforest our planet.

Just remember that there’s no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. 99.99% of the time, planting a tree is better than not planting a tree at all.

Why: Your Tree-Planting Motivation

Let’s begin with the most important question: why do you want to plant trees in the first place?

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Is it to fight climate change? Or create habitat for endangered animal species? To offset the carbon emissions from your travels? To restore water cycles, stop erosion, and prevent desertification?

Or are you searching for organizations that plant trees to create full-time incomes for people in less privileged regions instead?

Whatever your personal motivation, the ‘Why’ is one of the most important factors, because the ‘Why’ is where most approaches differ.

At Click A Tree, our initial motivation was to create habitat for elephants. Hence, we decided to plant a wide variety of different tree species and create diversified ecosystems.

Tree Planting for Elephants Click A Tree 1

These trees do fight climate change at the same time, of course. And because our forests are so diversified, they are also prepared in the best possible way to withstand the challenges of a changing climate.

Building on this strategy, we decided to avoid working with volunteers and instead employ full-time workers to plant and nurse the trees.

Planting Trees Thailand Anchala

That way, planting trees also creates stable incomes for many families and communities and makes tree-planting holistically sustainable.

In the end, we now manage to support 16 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.

Sustainable Development Goals and Click A Tree

And you can do that, too, simply by planting a tree. (Or three. The more, the merrier.)

So we’ve covered the ‘Why’ – that leads us nicely to the ‘Who’.

Who: Types Of Workers And Types Of Organizations

Who should plant your trees?

Should it be volunteers that do so to gain life experience, such as students taking a gap year? Should it be school kids that want to learn about the importance of environmental protection?

Or would you rather see full-time workers earn a fair salary by planting and nursing your tree instead?

And, another thing to consider: should those full-time workers be ‘western’ professionals? Or should they be people in less fortunate regions of our planet?

Tree Planting Organizations 6 Ways to Identify the Best Ones2

Tree-planting organizations from across the globe choose different paths here.

And, as we mentioned earlier, there’s no right or wrong here. Each approach is valuable, and we’re not here to judge your answer with ‘pass’ or ‘fail’.

But when you consider the ‘Who’, you’ll quickly be able to identify the organizations that plant trees with your preferred approach – and the ones that don’t.

Click A Tree: Why We Plant Trees Exclusively With Full-Time Workers

At Click A Tree, we’ve tried all three of these approaches: western volunteers; school kids; and full-time workers.

In the end, we decided to run exclusively with full-time workers. The two main reasons are that on the one hand, we strongly believe that the people working hard to protect our planet should earn a fair and full-time income for their efforts.

And, on the other hand, employing full-time workers brings better long-term results. The trees are being nursed and nurtured for many years by increasingly experienced staff.

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That knowledge and experience makes a huge difference to the survival rates of the trees.

There’s a big difference between pushing a seed into the ground and pre-growing and constantly nursing a sapling until it can survive on its own.

This isn’t the only approach, but it’s the one that best aligns with our vision and values.

Tree-Planting Charities Vs Non-Charity Organizations

Another part of the ‘Who’ takes a closer look at the type of organizations that plant trees. Is the reforestation organization a charity? Or a company?

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Click A Tree is not a charity. We are a for-profit company. That’s because we strongly believe that the people helping to protect our planet should make profits as well.

Here’s why: Generating a profit motivates even more people to engage in planet-saving activities. And that’s what we need: a ton of highly-motivated people, all of them keen to make our planet a better place.

And so long as we live in a capitalistic environment, people need to earn a living and make a profit from their efforts. Otherwise the appeal of a job with a higher salary becomes too tempting.

Those profits don’t even need to be super high. But a fair remuneration for the people working hard to make our planet a better place is a fair deal, right? Right…?

Imagine how rapidly our planet would change if we combined charitable work with a capitalistic system. That’s Charitalism.

Charitalism Click A Tree

Where: Planting Trees In Your Backyard? In Your Region? Globally?

Where would you like the tree-planting organization to, y’know… plant your trees…?

How about in your own backyard, so that you can sit in their shade? Or in your community forest so that you can go visit and hug them once in a while?

The country you live in? Or a country with a lower GDP, where the tree creates a source of income for the local population?

Should your preferred tree-planting team grow your tree in the tropics, home to the majority of our biodiversity and the climate zone where trees grow faster due to no winter breaks? Fast growth ensures fast carbon sequestration – which is great news for our global climate.

Or simply, anywhere in the world?

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At Click A Tree, the majority of our trees are planted in tropical regions. Firstly, this is because trees grow faster there.

And, since there’s no winter break, the trees can store more CO2 in less time.

Secondly, it’s because planting trees is generally cheaper in the tropics than it is e.g. in the U.S.A. or in Germany, where the costs of a tree are much higher (due to higher land prizes and labor costs).

And, finally, because we believe that the work and the stable income is more dearly needed in the countries that we plant trees in.

And that, as mentioned above, helps to make the entire undertaking holistically sustainable.

What: What’s Your Strategy Of Choice? Do You Prefer Organizations That Plant Specific Trees?

To help select the reforestation organization you want to plant trees with, ask yourself what types of trees you want to plant.

Do you want to plant the cheapest trees, so that you can plant as many trees as possible? (Warning: This might result in monocultures, which often do more harm than good to the environment!)

Monocultures Trees

Or are you okay with paying a little bit more to ensure that the best (aka most useful) tree is planted, one that’s been carefully selected to grow in the local circumstances?

Furthermore, do you want to plant fruit trees, so that farmers can harvest the fruit to eat and sell them?

Fruit Tree Planting Organizations 6 Ways to Identify the Best Ones3

Or do you prefer to create a highly diverse ecosystem as habitat for endangered animals, storing as much CO2 as possible, restoring the water cycle, stopping desertification, and preventing soil erosion?

Biodiversity Tree Planting Organizations 6 Ways to Identify the Best Ones13

Or perhaps your preference is a simple combination of the two latter strategies?

Funnily enough, that’s an option too. It’s called Syntropic Farming, and we implement it in Ghana.

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With Click A Tree, we use different approaches in different projects. On the coastlines, we plant mostly mangroves, since there aren’t many trees that survive in brackish water (mix of salt and sweet water).

In Thailand, we mainly focus on creating animal habitats and promote biodiversity.

Tree Planting for Elephants Click A Tree 3

And in Ghana we develop a food plantation for the local community while also creating a diverse forest around it. (And, as if that wasn’t enough, we also support a local entrepreneurship school, where unemployed young people learn how to create a better future for themselves.)

Yes, you’re right. You’re spoilt for choice here. (If you were to ask us: Plant one of each. Our planet does need it.)

We don’t let you choose the type of tree that you plant. If we did, most people would plant the cheapest tree species available, and that would result in a monoculture. 

Instead, we plan exactly which tree species are needed in whatever quantity, and then create a mixed calculation to ensure that dozens of different species are being planted.

It makes your life easier (one choice less to make) and creates a highly diverse ecosystem.

And that’s important, because it’s the optimum way to prepare forests for the increasing challenges that climate change brings along.

Which: Which Tree-Planting Strategy Is The Smartest?

Let’s look into that in a little bit more detail. Which types of trees should be planted? In which combination? Using which strategy?

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These are complex questions, and we’ll bet that you probably don’t want to spend your whole day thinking about tree-planting strategies. After all, that’s the job of the reforestation organization, isn’t it?

But bear with us: it’s worth briefly considering the strategy used by the respective tree-planting organization you’re planning to support.

Tree-Planting Strategies

Do they push a seed in the ground and walk away? Do they throw so-called seed bombs?

Or do they pre-grow the seeds in a tree nursery, and then plant the sapling?

Do tree-planting organization continue to nurse the sapling once it’s been planted out in the field in order to maximize survival rates?

Tree Planting Organizations 6 Ways to Identify the Best Ones7

The more time you invest in a tree, the higher its chance of survival.

Tree Species

On top of that, you need to consider the tree species.

Does the reforestation company plant a single species of tree, which would result in a monoculture? Or does it plant a variety of tree species? And do the selected species benefit each other?

Tree Planting Organizations 6 Ways to Identify the Best Ones12

Once again, pre-growing different tree species and following a plan that encourages symbiosis takes longer and is more costly. But isn’t that a wise investment?

At Click A Tree, our mission is to create diverse ecosystems as habitat for animals.

We plan which tree species to plant, we pre-grow them in a tree nursery, we plant them out in the field after 3-6 months, and then we continue to nurse them for up to twelve years.

That ensures that all these little trees grow into a healthy, self-sustaining forest.

Even when it’s a forest, we still check up on it regularly to make sure that things are going as planned, pruning the trees here and there if necessary.

Wir ernten was wir sähen Erfolgsstory aus Thailand Bäume pflanzen

And yes, we pay all the people on site for the entire time of their engagement, creating lots of stable, long-term incomes, which improves the local economy. Everyone wins.

When: When Is The Best Time To Plant Trees?

This one’s a trick question – when’s the best time to plant a tree? 

Click A Tree Meme The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. By Click A Tree on clickatree.com

But on a serious note: If you decide to plant a tree in your garden, you’re well advised to check when the best time is to plant that specific species of tree in your specific region. Or call a local expert to take care of that instead.

When planting with Click A Tree, the best time to do so is now.

Of course, your tree won’t go into the ground the very second you hit ‘Order’. Instead, we collect the orders and plant the trees at the right time, depending on the region you selected.

We take orders all year round, then prepare our tree nursery, source the seeds and start at just the right time to pre-plant your seeds in the nursery so that they’re ready for the field when the rains come.

But trust us, don’t wait for the right moment. Plant a tree now!

Determining The Best Tree-Planting Organization

Now you know which questions to ask when it comes to finding the best organization to plant trees with.

Unfortunately, not all reforestation companies are 100% upfront with their methods. That being the case, there are a few pointers to find the best tree-planting organization for you.

Who’s Behind The Tree-Planting Organizations?

First of all, who runs the organization that plants your trees? Can you find them on Facebook or LinkedIn? Do they show their face, or are they hiding behind a company logo?

Are they responsive? Send them an email or give them a call. If you don’t hear back – don’t plant trees with them.

Check The Images Of Tree-Planting Campaigns

Check the images on their websites and social channels. Do they show children with plants? They could be planting with schools.

Are there 18-year-old westerners proudly posing with a sapling amongst Kenyans? These would most likely be volunteers.

Fridays For Future Turning Talk Into Trees

Like we said – neither of these two is a bad thing. It just depends on whether you’d prefer to support volunteers or professional tree-planters.

Are their images up-to-date and unique? (By ‘up-to-date’, we mean photos that are 6-12 months old. It’s not always planting season, and it wouldn’t make sense to upload a new photo of the same tree every week.)

Also, quite often, tree-planting teams surprisingly focus on… planting trees!

But if the last uploaded photos are 10 years old, it might be a sign the company isn’t as active anymore these days.

Check The Tree-Planting Organization’s Website And Social Channels

First step when looking for an organization that plants trees: Read their website. Do they inform you about their reforestation projects and methods?

Tree Planting for Elephants Click A Tree 2

If not, that’s a red flag. If you have time to spare, call them, or send an email and see what they say.

Alternatively, plant trees with a reforestation company that’s upfront about their methods.

Does the tree-planting organization promote volunteer events on their website and social channels? That obviously shows they’re planting with volunteers.

Sign up for one – it’s good fun! And it also shows you how much hard work goes into planting a tree.

You’ll probably only plant the sapling that day – it will have been pre-grown before that, and will (hopefully) be nursed by someone else after that.

In the end, you’ll need to decide for yourself whether you’d rather place large-scale reforestation projects in the hands of volunteers or full-time professionals.

Plant A Tree Organization Transparency

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Do you know what your money is used for?

Does the tree-planting organization ask for “$20USD for reforestation projects?” Or do you get “1 tree for $20USD?”

Again, there is no right or wrong here. However, the latter approach is a little more ‘tangible’ than the former.

Whether that matters to you or not is entirely your decision.

The Costs Of A Tree

We have already explained to you in detail how much it costs to plant a tree.

Costs of a Tree

But quickly consider the costs. You need to calculate for land, permissions, and bureaucracy. There’s planning, buying the right tools, sourcing the seeds, and transporting them to your nursery.

Then you need time and effort to pre-grow the saplings, prepare the field, install irrigation, plant the tree saplings out into the field, and then care for them for the years to come.

How much would you charge for all that?

Be fair and pay a just price for other people doing all of that for you. How would you feel if you did mother nature a good deed by planting a tree, but exploited a human being in less fortunate conditions in the process? Would you plant a tree for cents?

If we do go sustainable, it should be holistically sustainable. That way everybody benefits: you, the local community, and the local and global ecosystem.

Doesn’t that sound marvelous?

Trees for endangered wildlife

Related Articles: 5 ½ Christmas Trees Alternatives: How to Make Your Christmas Tree Eco-Friendly

Is Click A Tree The Best Tree-Planting Organization Out There?

And now we’re back to your original question! Is Click A Tree the best tree-planting organization out there?

The answer is: you decide.

Of course, we created and developed Click A Tree in a way that makes it fair for everyone involved, and approaches sustainability holistically.

We’re certainly proud of what we do and think we do things the right way.

But we’re also aware that other people have different values, so of course you might deem a different company the best tree-planting organization.

In the end, whatever your priorities are, we strongly believe that planting a tree is almost always better than not planting a tree.

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If we’re the team you trust then we’re honored! And we’ll continue to do our best to plant and nurse your tree until it grows into a tall, beautiful, and valuable symbol of your devotion.

And, if we’re honest, planting trees doesn’t cost the world, right? (Unfortunately, not planting trees could cost us the world. But that’s the topic of a different story.)

Keep it simple and don’t overthink things. Plant a tree today!

Oh, and: Should you decide not to plant a tree: Please drop us a quick comment below and let us know why.

Feel free to let us know what a good tree-planting organization in your opinion should bear in mind.

We’re always keen to hear constructive feedback, since we always aim to get better and better.

Stay connected and get the latest updates on new tree-planting sites: follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you for your support!

8 Comments

  1. Stig Svensson

    We are a Swedish NGO working in Kenya, helping farmers plant trees. How can you be of assistance to us?

    Stig Svensson

    Reply
    • Margarita Price

      Hi Stig, sounds awesome. Can you send us some further information, such as your website and maybe some pointers what you need? Please email these to info@clickatree.com.

      Reply
  2. ISAAC C WAWERU

    Very insightful and simple to understand article.

    Reply
    • Margarita Price

      Hi Isaac, thank you for your comment! We try to create content that is informative and easy to understand. 🙂 Margarita

      Reply
  3. Stephen Leahy

    Just making a record of possible contributions

    Reply
    • Margarita Price

      Hey Stephen, thank you for your comment! Please let us know if you have any questions 🙂 Have a wonderful week! – Margarita

      Reply
  4. Caroline Wilhjelm

    The headline suggest a survey of all organisations – but you never mention any other than your own organisation? A bit misleading headline!

    Reply
    • Margarita Price

      Hey Caroline, thank you for your comment and feedback! I can see how some people might expect a comparison between tree planting companies. In this article we’ve simply collected the most important questions one should think about when deciding on an organization with examples from Click A Tree (since that is what we know most about:)) If you have any cool ideas for a better headline, please let us know! We’re always open to improve our work! Best, Margarita

      Reply

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