Natural environment  |  Successes  |  20.12.2013

“A tree for every child”

29% of Romania’s surface is covered by forests, but over the last decades deforestation – in big parts illegal – has been widely spread. A 2012 study by Greenpeace maintains that 3 hectares of forest disappear every hour in Romania. Under the circumstances, a wide strategy for forest protection and reforestation is needed. Local awareness raising initiatives can also help, such as the initiative “A tree for every child” developed in Cluj. 

On September 1, 2012, Cluj-Napoca City Hall launched a project called "A child - a tree" for every baby born in the city a tree will be planted. Parents choose the area in which to be planted and the authorities provide the trees, the tools, the specific place and encourage the families to take care of it with their children.

The first planting session took place in autumn 2012 with a total of 405 tree species planted -maple, catalpa - species suitable for landscaped areas as parks. Since then, more than 5000 kids were born in Cluj-Napoca. 

The model proved successful and in autumn-winter parliamentary session (2013) large group of Romanian MPs initiated a legislative proposal on environmental improvement through the development of more green spaces (based on the model from Cluj-Napoca). According to the project within six months from the registration of birth each municipality with a population over 15,000 inhabitants, would ensure a tree for every newborn child. 

The draft law states that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change will provide 20% of the annual cost of the project, the remaining 80% will come from the local budget.

Such initiatives are of course far from what is needed in terms of a coherent reforestation policy and combating illegal logging, but they can play a role in raising awareness about the importance of forests as natural habitats and in countering pollution in cities. 

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