Plant-for-the-Planet grows the seedlings for all trees in a tree nursery and then plants them in a suitable mixture. Planting takes place during the rainy season (July to December), as the young plants are then naturally watered. In the first months, it is crucial for the survival of the young plants to keep the fast-growing grass, which grows up to two meters high and competes with the seedlings for sunlight, short. Our forest workers do this with machetes. Thanks to this regular, manual cutting of the grass, we achieve a high survival rate. For this process, our employees use over 700 machetes annually and another 7,600 files to constantly sharpen the blades. No less important is the fact that we provide our employees with good training and pay them above the standard rate, instead of the piece-rate payments or piece-rate bonuses that are often the norm in planting. This is because the satisfaction of all employees, who identify strongly with the plantation, also contributes to the focus on the quality of the plantation and care of the trees. Many of our employees regard the young trees almost like their children, whom they cherish and for whom they feel responsible.
At the end of the planting season, information on all newly planted trees is sent to CONAFOR (Comisión Nacional Forestal) along with the daily logs. This government agency is responsible for the conservation and restoration of Mexico's forests and participates in the development of plans, programs and guidelines for sustainable forestry development.
You will find an overview of our facts, figures and data since the start of the initiative in 2007 and the establishment of the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation in 2011, above. In chronological order you can see our program work as we have been supporting children in their commitment to a better climate since 2008, our actions in public relations, the seedlings and trees and also how we have used your donations in the last 13 years.
Trees and forests are exposed to natural hazards, such as pest infestations, forest fires or floods. To keep expected damage to a minimum, we rely on the best possible planting strategy. There are several key components to this strategy. First, we select tree species that are particularly well adapted to local soil conditions. In addition, we always plant mixed tree species. A mixed forest is inherently more resistant, for example to forest fires, and also better protected against pest infestation. However, the 2020 hurricane season was one with the most flooding since the beginning of U.S. records with twelve storms (including six hurricanes). The previous record holder was the 1916 season with 9 storms. On average, 3.2 storms hit the U.S. each season, including 1.6 hurricanes. https://bit.ly/3aBxpvr. Similar to the southern states of the U.S., the Yucatán Peninsula was also affected very seriously. These extreme weather events of summer 2020 severely flooded our Rancho 1. There are still several very old trees on the property. Therefore, there was no reason for us to fear that this site would flood on a regular basis. We will not see how many trees will have recovered from the flooding until the dry season ends in 2021. We will re-plant trees that did not survive the flooding from reserves here or elsewhere. Not planting because we expect natural disasters to possibly occur would be fatalistic. After all, it is by protecting forests and reforesting worldwide, while drastically reducing CO2 emissions, that we can still keep the extreme effects of the climate crisis at bay. Fires can start naturally, or they can spill over from neighboring areas due to slash-and-burn practices that still occur. In April 2018, 94 hectares (103,000 trees) burned after we had reforested them just a year earlier. Measured against our total area of 22,000 hectares, this is 4 per thousand trees. These areas were reforested again in 2019. In November 2020, approximately 20 hectares of our Rancho 1 burned due to fire clearing by a neighbor that encroached on that area. This is less than one per thousand of all the land owned or held by Plant-for-the-Planet A.C. We are negotiating replacement payments with the neighbor. Boundary violations, such as clearing on neighboring properties, are unfortunately difficult to control. To describe the extent of the land (all of our land combined is somewhat the size of Liechtenstein): In September 2014, prior to purchase, the sellers of the Rancho Las Américas 3 land hired a group of topographers to mark the property boundaries in the jungle with boundary stones. During their surveying work, two topographers lost their bearings and got lost. Only with the help of a contingent of soldiers, police and forestry workers were they able to find them alive and bring them home after four days.
When selecting the trees to be planted, it is crucial that they are native tree species that are also typical of the surrounding, still intact forests. We therefore only plant trees that have always been present in the region. Among them are many valuable kinds of wood. This is also the reason why so much has been illegally cut down in the region. But it would be unreasonable not to plant such trees because they are part of the natural ecosystem of the Yucatán Peninsula. You can find out which tree species will be planted in our planting report, which can be viewed and downloaded at the bottom of the page. https://a.plant-for-the-planet.org/annual-reports/ Starting in 2021, we will add more tree species in favor of ecological diversity; we plan to plant more than 20 different tree species, also only native species. We will then report on this in future annual planting reports.
All contributions (donations) for trees are so-called "earmarked donations": 1 Euro = 1 tree. 100 percent of these donations flow from the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation Germany to Plant-for-the-Planet A.C. in Mexico. With this euro all costs are covered, the collection of the seeds, the raising of the seeds in the nursery, the transport of the seedlings to the planting areas, the planting out and above all the care of the young trees, here especially the removal of the grass, which competes with the young trees for light. The largest share of the one euro is made up of the personnel costs plus the voluntary social benefits, such as costs for food, equipment, accommodation and medical protection for the employees, as well as the work clothes and tools, the transport service between the place of work and residence because the reforestation areas are located in regions where there is no public transport. The 1 euro is also used to maintain roads and paths and repair machinery. The 1 euro does not include a share for the land itself, i.e. no lease, rent or purchase price. The land is financed by people who specifically support the foundation with funds for land acquisition.
We employ over 100 people in reforestation and our tree nursery. They ensure that everything runs smoothly, from catering for the team, the cultivation, planting and care of the trees, to the maintenance of paths and commercial vehicles. Our employees are trained and work under reliable conditions with above-average wages for the region and social benefits. The good working conditions at Plant-for-the-Planet are known and appreciated in the region. Since 2020, we have also employed a team of ecologists, some of whom come from Mexico and some from the USA, whose expertise ensures the quality of the reforestation and provides advice.
We reforested different areas with different planting densities. For example, in the initial planting of Américas 1, where isolated trees had been preserved, we planted 1,100 trees/hectare. In other areas, specifically Américas 2, we even planted 1,400 trees per hectare. The project's ecologists work out such decisions based on the situation on the ground. If a former forest area was cut down 20 years ago and then left to its own devices, a thin secondary vegetation has developed there. Plants of this vegetation type are mostly fast-growing species, including alien species, grasses and shrubs. However, these pioneer species are not synonymous with "forested area". Incidentally, this is also important to remember when using satellite imagery to assess the situation of an area. Satellite images show revegetation/biomass, but do not differentiate by the quality of cover. And often they do not reflect current conditions.
Satellite images have only a limited informative value about the vegetation of an area. There is already good data for Germany and Europe. On a global scale, the informative value is not equally good everywhere. The Thünen-Institut https://www.thuenen.de/de/infrastruktur/thuenen-fernerkundung/which is working on providing this for exemplary forests, explains: "Until now, freely available remote sensing data had too low a resolution. Therefore, both in Germany and within the EU, they were of limited added value for describing and analyzing land use. Since 2015, the European Earth Observation Program "Copernicus" provides remote sensing data with a high spatial and temporal resolution This new quality of data offers the possibility to map land use and land use structure across Germany in a highly up-to-date and impact-accurate way." The Copernicus' website says: "Land cover and land use mapping produces land cover classifications at various level of detail, both within a pan-European and global context. At the pan-European level, these are complemented by detailed layers on land cover characteristics, such as imperviousness, forests, grassland, water and wetness and small woody features. At the global level, the land cover mapping follows the FAO's modular-hierarchical Land Cover Classification System." https://www.copernicus.eu/en/copernicus-services/land See also the following study: High-resolution satellite imagery for tropical biodiversity studies: the devil is in the detail Harini Nagendra · Duccio Rocchini Received: 9 March 2008 / Accepted: 5 September 2008 / Published online: 24 September 2008 © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008. In the future, Plant-for-the-Planet would like to offer optimized satellite images for all planting initiatives registered in the Plant-for-the-Planet App. This will be made possible through cooperation with ESRI. Drone images that the planting initiatives take of their areas can then be matched with the satellite images and enhanced to create a detailed picture. Once such drone images are available, it will be possible in the future to provide a representation for individual planting areas that even shows individual trees. Before this can happen, the exact coordinates of all newly planted trees will first be registered in the foundation's own reforestation project from the 2021 planting season, i.e. from July 2021, using the Tree Mapper app we developed for this purpose. This precise localization of donated trees will allow the reforestation to be accompanied via satellites or drones in a second step.
The existence of biomass, i.e., shrubs, grasses, and ferns (pioneer vegetation), but also the existence of individual trees, does not mean forest or intact forest. Thus, although there is a lot of biomass in some areas, from a forestry point of view this cannot be defined as forest. The areas we are restoring show varying degrees of destruction. In some cases there are no trees left at all or only isolated trees, in others, only the valuable trunks have been plundered. It is important to know that 50% of the biomass of a forest is concentrated in 5% of the trees. These trees are often the target of legal or illegal looting. The overall picture often still gives the impression of a forest, but in both cases, these forests are not intact and need supplementary tree planting or assisted renaturation. Where trees are planted on each site depends on a variety of factors. Existing trees bring conditions that must be considered when planting new trees. For example, if there is still an intact canopy, only species that are tolerant of competition for sunlight will be planted. In general, we avoid planting near large trees or in complete shade. However, it may be appropriate to plant in existing forests, for example, to increase species diversity. This is called "enrichment planting" and it helps strengthen the ecological conditions of the forest system (https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss1/art31/). It can also be useful to rejuvenate stands in older forests once individual trees die or become diseased and are therefore removed. Not all areas need complete reforestation; for some, natural regeneration makes more sense. This is especially true when the soil microbiome has not yet degraded to the point where natural reproduction can still occur. In order to make the ecologically correct decision, Plant-for-the-Planet employs a team of ecologists. Their task is to make the increase in biomass and thus CO2 sequestration ecologically sound.
The study "Enrichment Planting in Secondary Forests: a Promising Clean Development Mechanism to Increase Terrestrial Carbon Sinks" published in 2009 by Paquette 1, Hawryshyn 2, Vyta Senikas 2 and Potvin https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss1/art31/ determines the potential storage capacity in enrichment planting using Panama as an example, about 2,000 km from Campeche, as ~113 Mg C ha-1, or 113 tons of C per hectare. This is equivalent to 414 tons of CO2 per hectare. Plant-for-the-Planet plants about 1,400 seedlings per hectare in Enrichment Planting. If this determined ~113 Mg C ha-1 is converted to the individual seedling, it would be equivalent to 295 kg CO2 per seedling/tree. According to another study (Poorter et al. Nature, 2016), a tree in Latin America sequesters an average of ~200 kg CO2 during its first 20 years.
|We grow the seedlings for our reforestation trees from carefully selected seeds at our nursery in Chuina, Campeche. In fact, we grow about 20% more seedlings from seed each year because not every seed grows into a plantable seedling. We record the grown seedlings delivered from the nursery to the reforestation plots in daily logs, as well as the planted trees during the planting season. By the end of 2020, approximately 9,650,000 seeds had been grown at the nursery, of which we were able to use 8,623,560 seedlings for our reforestation efforts. By the end of the 2020 planting season, on Dec. 17, 2020, we will have planted a total of 6,332,664 seedlings ourselves. With another 1,979,050 seedlings we will support small farmers in the two states of Campeche and Yucatán who will plant and care for the seedlings on their own land, and another 311,846 seedlings we will repot and plant in the 2021 planting season.|
We manage the land rights of our reforestation in the state of Campeche through our sister organization, the non-profit Plant-for-the-Planet A.C Mexico. An easement, called a "gravamen" in Mexico, is registered in the land register for the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, so that Planet-for-the-Planet A.C. may not transfer the land or parts thereof to third parties, encumber the land or parts thereof with mortgages, or cut down even a single tree without the consent of the German Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation. The land rights of our areas are regulated differently. Rancho 1 and 3 are governed by property law, Ranchos 2, 4, 5, 6 by Mexican agricultural law (Article 23, Section 5), which is most comparable to German cooperative law. In the case of property law, the following applies: The non-profit Mexican Plant-for-the-Planet A.C. is the owner. In the case of agricultural rights, the following applies: After every 30 years, Plant-for-the-Planet A.C. has the right to renew these agricultural rights. Whether Plant-for-the-Planet A.C. will make use of this renewal every 30 years depends largely on which of these two options can most promisingly ensure the increase of biomass. If it can be ensured that these forests will be protected in the long term, Plant-for-the-Planet A.C. plans to transfer the rights back to the cooperative in order to strengthen the local, cooperatively organized smallholders.
All areas are located on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, which is divided into three states, Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Campeche. Until 2020, we are planting exclusively in Campeche, near the town of Constitución. We plant on over 22,344 hectares (as of 12/2020) of our own land. You can see all the planting areas in our Plant-for-the-Planet app. The first area we acquired was called 'Rancho Las Americas'. Since then, we have unromantically simply numbered the areas for which we have taken responsibility. AMERICAS 1,2,3,4: https://www1.plant-for-the-planet.org/yucatan-reforestation AMERICAS 5: https://www1.plant-for-the-planet.org/science-forest-planbe AMERICAS 6: https://www1.plant-for-the-planet.org/planbe-forest
We did not acquire all of the degraded areas, which we want to restore to a healthy forest, at once. It started with Rancho 1, which we were also able to fully restore first. Over the years, we selected new areas. The areas we acquired for reforestation are all located on the Yucatán Peninsula in the state of Campeche in southeastern Mexico. The nearest town is Constitución. There we have a logistics building for our engineers and a research station for our ecologists. The criterion for taking over land is always that it is degraded forest land that we want to regenerate and restore. Two plots, namely Rancho 3 and Rancho 4, we have not yet restored. For area 3 in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, we have not yet decided how best to restore and protect the existing trees there in the future. So far, we have surveyed the status quo, and our ecologists are working on a proposal, possibly including assisted renaturation. With the proposal, we will consult the authorities and then obtain an official permit. So far, we have actively reforested Rancho 1 and Rancho 2. We started with Rancho 6, which is adjacent to Rancho 1, in 2020. Rancho 5 was acquired in 2020, as a research area and also planted with the first trees as part of scientific field research.
Since Plant-for-the-Planet took responsibility for just over 22,000 hectares in 2015, we have had two fires that affected a total of 114 hectares, or 5 per thousand of our land. In April 2018, a fire spread from a neighboring property to the northwestern portion of the Las Américas 1 reforestation area. This fire killed 94 hectares of forest (approximately 103,000 of our newly restored trees). We reforested the area in 2019. It was not possible to determine whether the fire on the neighboring property was intentional slash-and-burn. In November 2020, nearly 20 acres burned because a neighbor's illegal slash-and-burn spilled over onto Plant-for-the-Planet land. A neighbor who was clearing large areas on his property probably inadvertently encroached on Las Américas 2 Foundation land, which is part of our reforestation effort. Boundary violations are unfortunately relatively frequent in this region. We are negotiating a settlement with the neighbor in this case. The main cause of fires in Campeche is slash-and-burn agriculture. In the state of Campeche, where our work takes place, 8.1% of the original forest has been lost since 2002. Source: https://www.globalforestwatch.org/dashboards/country/MEX/4/ The Mexican Ministry of Environment itself, in its 'Vision of the New Ministry of Environment' from the summer of 2020, under the title 'Deforestation of the Yucatán Peninsula and the Wisdom of the Maya', laments, "The destruction of forest habitats and their species has not stopped in the last two decades." https://www.gob.mx/semarnat%7Cdialogosambientales/articulos/la-deforestacion-de-la-peninsula-de-yucatan-y-la-sabiduria-maya Global Forest Watch documents in its data that the state of Campeche lost approximately 40,000 hectares of forest in 2018 alone and 53,000 hectares of natural forest in 2019. The loss of these 53,000 hectares in 2019 alone is equivalent to 12.5 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Basically, many forests on the Yucatan Peninsula are constantly lightly waterlogged during the rainy season between July and December. With twelve named storms (including six hurricanes), the 2020 hurricane season was the rainiest around the Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula since records began. The previous record-holder was the 1916 season with nine storms. On average, 3.2 storms make landfall each season, including 1.6 hurricanes. (see Yale Climate Connections, 9/11/2020) https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/11/tropical-storm-eta-makes-landfall-in-the-florida-keys/?ct=t%28EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_EOTS_11_09_2020) Yes, even many of our newly replanted forest areas were underwater for longer periods than normal. We cannot yet estimate if and how many trees were damaged by this. We will replace the lost trees with our reserves. However, this does not mean that it is pointless to plant trees here. One consequence of the climate crisis is precisely this kind of extreme weather, which will also have a greater impact on forests all over the world, through massive fires, droughts and floods. To deduce from this higher danger that we should stop protecting and restoring the forest would be tantamount to capitulation. Not reforesting at all would actually increase these effects. On the effects of deforestation on rainfall see Portal infobae, 28/11/2020) https://www.infobae.com/america/mexico/2020/11/28/inundaciones-y-tragedia-las-fatales-consecuencias-de-la-deforestacion-de-la-selva-del-sureste-de-mexico/
Since January 1, 2016, we have been recording both the grown seedlings being delivered from the nursery to the reforestation plots and the trees planted during the planting season in daily logs, each of which is double-certified by the signature of two senior staff members. All 1,352 daily logs are linked and viewable on our homepage here: plant-for-the-planet_planting_reports_campeche_2015ff. In the first year 2015 when we had planted a total of 220,038 trees from 8.3.2015 to 31.12.2015, At that time we still numbered the trees ourselves. These daily logs provide information on the number of trees and the species planted, each on a daily basis and cumulatively, the number of colleagues working that day, what machines were in use, and expenses for food for the planting team, gasoline, and diesel. At the end of each planting season, we submit the number of new trees planted to CONAFOR, the state forestry commission, which also made field visits in the early years of planting and issued certificates of the amount planted each year upon request. Until 2018, there were approximately three inspections of our work by CONAFOR forest engineers each year, after which visits were greatly reduced due to budget cuts for CONAFOR. On January 29, 2021, a regional auditing firm certified to us that at least 6,112,626 trees had been planted by us between January 1, 2016 and December 17, 2020. In addition, we have our 'tree accounting' and the financial statements of Plant-for-the-Planet A.C. Mexico audited by the international auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), México. In the future, such auditor's opinions will be issued for each year. In the following year, larger partners will receive individual information on the areas where the trees they financed were planted. From the 2021 planting season, i.e. from July 2021, we will - initially in a pilot project - for the first time be able to inform private donors automatically immediately after their trees have been planted. To this end, the geodata of the planted tree will be recorded. This is made possible by the further development of our Plant-for-the-Planet app.
|The typical vegetation type on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula is tropical dry forest - a special form of rainforest. It is characterized by the alternation of rainy and dry seasons. This allows us to plan out our work well throughout the year. The jobs are divided into planting preparation, maintenance and planting, and care according to the seasons. We plant exclusively in the middle of the rainy season, i.e. we plant the first seedling after it has already rained for about a month and also stop planting a month before the expected end of the rainy season so that the young seedlings have optimal growing conditions. During the dry season from January/February to May/June, the staff care for the trees already planted and prepare the reforestation for the period from June/July to December/January. Maintenance also includes removing fast-growing grasses from in between the young tree seedlings. The dry season is also used to repair trails and do any repair work that is due. And, of course, this is also the right time to raise seedlings for the coming planting season in our own nursery. After half a year, they are strong enough to be planted out, growing up to 40 cm.|
No, Plant-for-the-Planet explicitly does not plant plantations, as plantations pursue the goal of timber extraction. Plantations are a market-oriented, corporate cultivation of tree and shrub crops in monoculture. We do the exact opposite, planting many different species. However, the freshly planted trees need a lot of care even after planting. In the first few years, our employees free them by hand up to 15 times with machetes from the fast-growing bush grass with which they compete for sunlight. Therefore, we plant our seedlings at regular intervals. By planting in this way, our employees can better protect the young seedlings. However, this orderly planting is not to be confused with a plantation.
We plant a mixture of different species of trees from the mahogany family, almond trees, white gum trees, trumpet trees as well as various useful and fruit trees: more about our tree species can be found here: https://a.plant-for-the-planet.org/de/yucatan.
Every newly planted tree absorbs CO2 from day one. The tree needs this CO2 for photosynthesis and its growth. About 45% of the biomass of a tree is pure "C", i.e. carbon. The oxygen is released into the air. Only when a tree dies some of the CO2 is released back into the atmosphere and some is stored in the soil. You can convert from pure carbon "C" to CO2 by multiplying by 3.7. The molar weight of a carbon atom is 12, that of an oxygen atom 16, so 44/12 equals 3.66. The gum tree described in the question 'How do you know how much CO2 a tree binds?' by the researchers around Ramirez, which has bound 4,300 kg of CO2 in 50 years, thus has a weight of 2,600 kg, so 4,300/44*12/45*100=2,600.
There are national Plant-for-the-Planet organisations in Mexico, Brazil, the USA, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. The national organisations have honorary presidents who, just like Felix Finkbeiner and his parents, work for Plant-for-the-Planet on a voluntary basis, i.e. without pay. In addition to our pilot project on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, we also maintain planting projects in Toluca (State of Mexico), Spain (Ejulve, Sadiz, Doñana, Granada) and Ghana.
All contributions (donations) that are donated for trees are so-called "earmarked donations". 1 Euro = 1 tree. 100 percent of these donations go to Plant-for-the-Planet A.C. in Mexico.
In addition to earmarked donations for trees, everyone can support the further work of Plant-for-the-Planet with non-earmarked donations. This makes our other programme work possible: the promotion of children and young people, mobilisation and public relations work or the further development of the Plant-for-the-Planet app. Administrative costs account for less than 9 percent of expenditures. All our expenses are publicly available on our homepage. Our financial/annual reports can be found at: a.plant-for-the-planet.org/annual-reports/.
2015, exactly 50 percent of all income generated by the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation went to the sister organisation in Mexico for tree planting. In the following years, the share of donations that went to Mexico was distributed as follows: 2016: 61 percent, 2017: 48 percent, 2018: 54 percent, 2019: 73 percent.
The purchase of land from regular private donations is prohibited. Those who want land to be acquired from their donations must declare this explicitly. For example, in 2019, a supporter donated money for the dedicated purchase of a 91-acre research site in Constitución. A few weeks later, thanks to this earmarked donation, Plant-for-the-Planet was able to start the first large-scale planting trial under the scientific supervision of Imperial College, London and ETH Zurich. The funds for land are donated earmarked for the acquisition of land.
In 2016, our forestry engineer created 292 plots on Las Americas 1, with a total of 4,672 trees. Measurements after one year showed a survival rate of 94.33 %. However, since conditions across our various sites vary. Therefore, we are setting up dispersed, continuous monitoring plots across sites and have stopped communicating this value until the new data comes in.
Whether we will ever harvest a tree, we don't know yet. If trees were harvested, the wood would be sold. Any proceeds would then go to the non-profit organisations Plant-for-the-Planet A.C., Mexico, and Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, Germany, which are bound by their organisational purposes to spend any proceeds on further reforestation, education and science.
After a few decades, tropical forests reach the peak of their carbon storage capacity. After that, the forest absorbs little more additional carbon. Under certain conditions, it can also make conditional sense to selectively remove smaller, weaker trees so that other, larger trees have better growth opportunities and can absorb more CO2. However, these felling operations are not done because of the wood. A forest managed in this way remains close to its maximum carbon storage capacity while financing further afforestation. We do not plan to do so, but we want to keep the option open that in future individual trees could be selectively harvested if this is good for the forest. Of course, this will also be reported on transparently.
The areas on which the trees are to grow also include areas that do not belong to Plant-for-the-Planet. A team of ecologists reviews eligible areas, both state and municipal, and in individual cases, areas owned by small farmers, under the premise that the trees will be cared for and protected, and then recommends individual planting plans. It is up to the owners of those areas to decide. Together with ecologists and also researchers from ETH Zurich, we are currently investigating another 1,000 hectares and making a proposal for optimal reforestation. The owners of those areas then have to decide. So we also plant on municipal land ("ejidal"), and in the future also on state-owned land, under the premise that the trees are cared for and protected.
No, the company is located in a different state than the reforestation area and is active in sustainable urban development and thus a completely different business field than the non-profit Plant-for-the-Planet A.C.
According to our current planting strategy, the focus of our reforestation efforts in Mexico is on capturing CO2 in an ecologically sound restored forest. After a few decades, tropical forests reach the peak of their carbon storage capacity. After that, the forest absorbs little more additional carbon. We want to keep the option open to selectively harvest individual trees in the future. However, whether we will ever harvest a tree, we do not know at this point in time, because timber production does not play a role at this point in any way. The selective harvesting of individual trees can enable other trees to grow further. A forest managed in this way remains close to its maximum carbon storage capacity while financing further reforestation. If in the future, trees were harvested and the timber sold in this way, all proceeds would go to the two non-profit organisations Plant-for-the-Planet A.C., Mexico, and Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, Germany, which are bound by their organisational purposes to spend any income on further reforestation, education and science. Of the nine species we plant (see Plant Report 2019), three, the species Cedrela odorada, Swietenia macrophylla and Tabebuia rosea, are among the most valuable tree species, which is the reason why so many trees have been illegally cleared. It is important to know that these tree species, planted for their wood, which is in demand on the world market, are first and foremost natural, indigenous tree species of this region. Their planting is, in any case, preferable to the alternative planting of neophytes, so the planting of trees from other regions. The focus of our reforestation is therefore not the question of "valuable" or "not valuable", but rather "native" or "non-native". As background information for those interested in why it can make ecological sense to use wood in solving the climate crisis, we recommend the report by David Roberts.
We have been planting on the Yucatán Peninsula since March 2015, and since 2018 we have been in close collaboration with the Crowther Lab established in 2017 at ETH, Zurich. The Crowther Lab evaluates the field data we collect during the planting process to monitor our recovery efforts and can thus scientifically monitor our activities. Since January 2020, we have also been working with ETH, Zurich and Imperial College, London to implement additional research projects in accordance with the research institutions' study priorities. The scientists' findings also benefit the reforestation strategy in Yucatán.
100% of all contributions (donations) that are earmarked for trees, 1 Euro = 1 tree, go to Planet-for-the-Planet A.C. in Mexico. Of all revenues of the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, the following percentages went to the sister organisation Planet-for-the-Planet A.C. in Mexico: 50% in 2015, 61% in 2016, 48% in 2017, 54% in 2018 and 73% in 2019. In addition to earmarked donations for trees, everyone can support the further work of Plant-for-the-Planet and donate unrestrictedly, thus supporting our other programme work. This includes the promotion of children and young people, mobilisation and public relations work, or the further development of the Plant-for-the-Planet App. These revenues make up the difference to the above mentioned 50%, 61%, 48%, 54% and 73%. These earmarked donations are also used to cover administrative costs, which average less than 9%.
In the first few months, it is crucial for the grass surrounding the tree to be kept short, otherwise, they are competing for the sunlight. This is why we always plant our seedlings in rows and at the same distance from each other, so our employees can better identify the seedlings in the grass. Our high survival rate is probably the result of this regular manual cutting of the grass, which is reflected in the consumption of 720 machetes and 7,800 files per year to sharpen them. Presumably, the above-standard payment and the high social benefits for our currently more than 100 employees on the planting area and in the tree nursery also contribute to this and the fact that we do not pay piecework payments or unit premiums, as is often the case with planting, but instead focus on quality and care.