Freetown achieves 80% tree survivability in 2020-22 planting project

Greenstand technology helps Freetown, Sierra Leone track and measure its success rate with transparent, verified results.

Greenstand got a chance this week to review the almost-final project results that will soon be reported by partners Freetown City Council from their Freetown The Tree Town campaign. We were happy our Treetracker app technology was able to help them track and measure their success.

For background, Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital city, launched a campaign in 2020 to increase the city's green space and reverse environmental degradation by planting 557,000 indigenous trees and shrubs.

City officials used our Treetracker app for two primary purposes: To track whether they met their goal of achieving 80% survivability of their planted trees, and to create a forest inventory that would enable Freetown to monitor forest health over time.

Freetown officials were wise to put monitoring plans in place at the start. So many tree-planting initiatives underway today focus only on putting seedlings in the ground and being able to report large numbers of planted trees at low cost per tree. If you've ever experienced planting anything -- seedlings, flowers, shrubs -- and didn't bother digging a large hole, mixing in nutrients, and giving abundant water, etc., you probably can imagine the results: high mortality rates. We've seen reports of recent projects where only 0% (!!!) to 20% of seedlings lived. Geesh!

The officials in Freetown wanted at least 80% of the seedlings to survive. So they put processes and systems in place to achieve their goals. Monitoring was the role Greenstand and Treetracker played. Freetown took photos of every seedling planted and tracked results on our Treetracker web map and in their project dashboard.

How did they do? Spot on! Freetown hit their 80% goal exactly. Of the 557,000 seedlings planted, 443,025 lived.

More than that, the project created 1,079 green jobs for youths, who were hired to grow trees, track trees, work in the nursery, and so on. The jobs were split almost evenly between women (47%) and men (53%). Another 1,200 Community Climate Action Ambassadors were trained in 19 reforestation areas to help spread the regreening and climate narratives in the community.

Greenstand was honored to play a role in this important project. Congratulations to Freetown officials for taking on -- and succeeding in -- such critical climate activities.