AlberItalia: science-based tree planting in Italy

AlberItalia was founded by the Italian Society of Silviculture and Forest Ecology (SISEF) with the aim of achieving the goal of planting 60 million trees in Italy, one tree for every Italian citizen to combat the climate crisis.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In Santa Sofia, on the Italian Apennines, the Italian Society of Silviculture and Forest Ecology and Romagna Acque-Società delle Fonti Spa launched the Alberitalia Committee last June 18th. Several guests participated, physically or remotely, from Universities (Bologna, Florence, Molise, Milan, Turin and La Sapienza Rome), institutions (Ministry of Agriculture Food and Forestry, National Committee for Public Green at the Ministry of the Environment) and other national bodies and NGOs. 

AlberItalia is the last step in a growing national movement for planting trees, born from the appeal to plant 60 million trees (one for every Italian citizen), which was launched last year with the aim of mitigating CO2 emissions by the “Comunità Laudato sì” supported by Monsignor Pompili, Bishop of Rieti, and supported by the scientist Stefano Mancuso, former director of the international laboratory for plant neurobiology at the University of Florence, and by Slow Food president Carlo Petrini. 

To make this goal possible, the Alberitalia Committee will try to coordinate and scientifically advise public and private subjects willing to carry out tree planting initiatives, in order to make sure that trees are planted in the most effective location (eg, contributing to urban climate chage adaptation), and are planned and managed according to the best available science, condensed in ten principles.

For example, reducing own greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible even before starting to plant; choosing native or exotic non-invasive species that are suitable for the soil and climate of the area being planted; manage the trees and prevent disturbances so that they can grow and fix carbon over a long period of time; use IPCC-inspired accounting rules to correctly estimate ecosystem services provided by the plantation and avoid carbon sink overestimation. Such principles have been consensed in an online guidebook that has been made available to online viewers. 

AlberItalia is being joined by several regional and city administrations, companies, scientists, NGOs and provate citizens. In Semptember 2020 a second meeting will take place with all new members to create a network and suggest common planning and accounting guidlines for ongoing and future planting projects – and “start counting trees” towards the goal of 60 million.

AlberItalia is open to membership by administations, NGOs, citizens, and private donors.

More information (in Italian)

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Giorgio Vacchiano
Assistant professor in forest management at planning since 2018. Forest researcher, forest modeler, communicator. Best emerging scientist according to Nature Index 2018.