Featured image for “Our Platform Projects Interviewed:                Home for Trees – Restoring Drought-induced Forest Loss in Czech Republic”
May 10, 2023
Chiagozie Udeh

Our Platform Projects Interviewed: Home for Trees – Restoring Drought-induced Forest Loss in Czech Republic

Not often do you associate drought with Europe but climate crisis impacts are sparing no one though some regions are more impacted. This is exactly the case in the Czech Republic where parts of the country have endured drought for close to half a decade with attendant impact on nature not least, loss of forest. 

Michaela Weissová, the founder and director of Home for Trees, who witnessed the impact of this prolonged drought is taking action to ensure that the next generation has some forest to live with. Home for Trees is a Czech non-profit organization that plants new biodiverse forests in the Czech Republic in places destroyed by bark beetles or windbreaks. She speaks to us on this edition of the blog:

Destroyed by Bark Beetle

Home for Trees was created in 2019 as a response to the ecological disaster in the forests of the Czech Republic, which were destroyed by a beetle called the bark beetle. This beetle has proliferated as a result of prolonged drought caused by climate change. In the 4 years of this disaster, the Czech Republic lost almost a third of all forests, so my motivation was to start restoring the forests so that they would be there for the next generation and at the same time help to gradually mitigate the climate crisis. We plant mixed age and species forests with a predominance of deciduous trees, which are more resistant to climate changes.

Challenged by COVID and the Invasion of Ukraine 

In the years 2020-2022, like everyone else, we struggled with restrictions and lockdowns around covid, so we couldn’t plant as much as we would have liked. In 2022, the war in Ukraine came and some of our donors stopped funding the support of nature and supported everything needed in the bombed-out Ukraine, which we understood and also supported. Now everything is gradually returning to “normal” and we are planting much more again. We planted a total of 60,000 trees in the Czech Republic and helped a lot of people.

Discovering Plant-for-the-Planet 

We got to the Plant-for-the-Planet project when we were contacted by Šimon Michalčík, who is the representative for the Czech Republic, and I immediately agreed to cooperate. We use the Plant-for-the-Planet platform because of transparency and the global scale that we want to be a part of for the Czech Republic. We like this project, and we want to continue to connect with similar foreign projects. I like its concept, the clear sorting of projects and countries and the simplicity with which we can draw money from donors for our next planting of new forests.

Planting, Inspecting and Gathering Communities 

From the moment we receive the money, we are planning plantings on the plots of private owners, cities and municipalities in spring and autumn, when it is the planting season for forest seedlings in the Czech Republic. We will contact the forest manager or the owner and talk about the vision of the new forest. If they agree to biodiverse planting in accordance with the given landscape, altitude and planting close to nature, we will agree on the composition of the trees, the date and other details. We will buy the trees, prepare the tools and then come to the event with our professional coordinators and volunteers to plant the trees. Our events are always a community gathering of nice people, local residents, families with children, friends and children from elementary schools, whom we will teach, show and give everything, and we will always invite everyone to a barbecue by the fire, where we will all connect. We subsequently document everything on our website and social networks. A year after planting the forest, we go on inspections to find out how the trees are doing. At our events, new friendships are made, relationships are strengthened, the head is cleared and the body is strengthened in the fresh air. Each of us always leaves with a great mood.

Choosing Seedlings 

We obtain seedlings from local forest schools, always at the planting site, so that they are not transported far and are adapted to local conditions. Their selection is always subject to the needs and the native trees of the landscape.

Our Message

The maturity of a society can be recognized by how it treats the weakest links, i.e. children, old people, animals and nature. Nature is not the weakest, but the most fragile, because our consumption is constantly increasing and nature does not have time to renew itself naturally, and therefore it is necessary to protect it, help it and plant new forests. We wish all the organizations that everything goes well, that they enjoy their work, that they always have new ideas and the desire to improve their surroundings and thereby benefit us all. We are all connected and that is our strength. Many thanks to all funders for their support, whether their money goes to planting forests in America, Europe or anywhere in the world. He who has money helps with money, he who has more time and enthusiasm helps with his work and dedicated time and love to the same thing – nature, which we are all an integral part of and which we need to live here healthily and our children and grandchildren too. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world and miracles will begin to happen.

Thank you very much to Plant-for-the-Planet for the space and support of our organization and we wish you many beautiful projects in which they plant as many trees as possible for all animals, plants and fungi, happy people who will be part of you, great implemented ideas and a great positive impact on planet Earth. Thanks!

Visit Home for Trees to learn more.