As part of a new strategy to protect nature in the European Union, three billion new trees will be planted across the 27 member states.
The European Commission has laid out the ambitious strategy as part of the European Green Deal. Alongside tree planting, this also includes a number of measures to protect the natural wealth of the region, including commitments to reduce the use of chemical pesticides and protections for vital pollinators, like bees, whose numbers are currently in decline.
“Nature is vital for our physical and mental wellbeing, it filters our air and water, it regulates the climate and it pollinates our crops,” Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said in a statement.
“But we are acting as if it didn't matter, and losing it at an unprecedented rate.”
At least 30 per cent of Europe’s land and seas is set to become a protected area. A further third of these areas with very high biodiversity will come under “strict protection” which will keep human intervention to a minimum.
The aim is to raise €20 billion every year to fund the plan. The money will come from public and private funding with a vast amount of the EU’s climate budget used to invest in biodiversity. The European Commission says that protecting and restoring well-functioning ecosystems in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is “key to boost our resilience and prevent the emergence and spread of future diseases”.