Billion Trees and Beyond - Guidelines for planting and accounting for the trees planted

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First Draft on : Oct 25, 2018   Last updated on: Oct 25, 2018

As the Billion Trees and Beyond movement is spreading to a larger context, there is a need to institutionalize the efforts, therefore. it is required that we have a set of rules and guidelines to help us aligned and focused on making the key difference we want to make while we face diversity of situations and challenges.  This blog will be maintained with necessary changes from time to time, to refine the guidelines as needed.  Please use this blog as a reference document. Please provide your feedback and suggestions by writing to

1. Tree Location
a.       Trees planted both in the ground and containers are considered.
b.      For container based trees, the container needs to be of size at least 50 liters, else ignore the plantation for accounting.

2   Plant Type, Size & Variety
a.       Any tree that has a life span of minimum 10 years are considered. Please ignore the trees that are meant to be destroyed within the 10 years period, especially the ones planted for commercial cropping. Also, plants like Papaya and Plantain will not be considered for plantation accounting.
b.      Any tree that can grow taller than 10 feet can be considered for plantation accounting.  Therefore, a drumstick plant planted in a container of size 50 liters or bigger can be accounted.
c.       As an exception, certain giant creepers too can be counted as trees. These creepers need to provide enough green cover like a medium sized tree, at least 100 sq. ft. of green cover. Therefore a colony of multiple creepers crossing 100 sq. ft. green coverage area can be counted as one tree equivalent. Creepers like Guduchi (Amruthaballi), Thunbergia,  Black Pepper, Betel leaf can be considered provided space is provided for such a large spread. Such creepers planted in the small containers should be ignored.

3   Plantation Reporting
a.       Please report plantation activities with details to cover all the trees to be accounted. The reporting can be done in bulk, for example, if 100 trees are planted, these trees can be covered in a single reporting, but please make sure the details required are provided to cover all the trees included.  The following information is required for documentation
                                                               i.      Total number of Trees and Tree Type: eg. 100 trees: 50 Pongemia, 10 Tamarind, 10 Champaka, 10 Parijatha, 10 Rathnagandhi, 5 Hebbevu, 5 Breadfruit
                                                             ii.      Tree Plantation Date:
                                                            iii.      Tree Plantation Reporting Date:
                                                           iv.      Trees Planted by: (OK to include more than one person, please ensure coverage of all people helped in plantation, right from sapling acquisition all the way down to watering the plant upon plantation)
                                                             v.      Plantation Reported by:
                                                           vi.      Plantation Care by:
                                                          vii.      Plantation Location: Place and Zip Code (Pin Code) and the Map location (Whatsapp can be used to record the map location). The map location helps one to physically track the tree on a later date.
                                                        viii.      Ensure a photograph of the plants covered. Bulk plantations can be covered in groups with a set of photographs. It is not mandatory that the photograph of each tree plantation is distinct.
                                                           ix.      Forward the plantation documentation by email, for central reporting and tracking, please write to
4  Plantation Person and Time Period:
a.       It is ok to take help of paid help for plantation and not include the names of such persons in reporting. The choice of inclusion of such persons in reporting is left to the choice of the person who claims responsibility for plantation. Please ensure that everyone’s volunteering effort is honored by including all the participants in the plantation reporting.
b.      Trees already planted by self can be reported provided the plantation has been within the last 10 years.
c.       Trees planted by self but no longer in existence at the time of reporting should be skipped.

 Plant Survival & Maintenance
a.       Please ensure adequate watering upon plantation; also ensure watering on a regular basis in the initial year(s) for the plant survival, especially during summers. There are some exceptional trees which are drought resistant which may not need regular watering beyond initial plantation days. However, please verify the health of the trees planted at least for the first one year since plantation.

 Central Plantation Activity Tracking
a.       All the plantation activities reported are tracked centrally in two ways. Each plantation report is maintained as one incident and each plant accounted is considered as an episode.  The plantation activities are also reflected in the central blog reports.

 Plantation Accounting: Plantation and Plantation Pledge
a.       Individual plantation accounting needs to be managed by the concerned individual only. The central plantation tracking focuses on accounting for all the trees planted globally by all the participating individuals and teams, and also ensuring sufficient documentation evidence for future verification or validation.
b.      A separate central plantation pledge tracking will be maintained, this information is updated regularly from the central plantation activity tracking in order to assess the progress and efficiency of pledges over time.
c.    It is possible that one wants to make a nursery of tree saplings and give them away for free for others to plant. In such case, the person who prepared the sapling could take half the credit and the person planting it could take the other half.  Therefore, when one plants tree saplings as part of an organizational drive, individually one should take only half the count of trees as the count of their tree plantations for individual tracking. But, this half tree count rule does not apply for the organization driving the plantation program.
d. People selling the saplings can not take any plantation credit for their saplings.
e. When you are using the seed balls, please note that the success rate of seedballs into trees could be anywhere between 0% - 50%, therefore, please ensure confirmation of the survival of the plant associated for at least one year before accounting for the trees planted. If you threw some seed-balls and could not verify the results, please ignore them in your plantation count.

8  Personal Plantation and Plantation Pledge Tracking
a.       When multiple trees are planted by multiple individuals, it is ok for all the individuals engaged to consider all the plants from the planting incident to account for all the trees to their credit (as this is outside the scope of the central accounting), but better and more ethical practice could be to divide the total number of trees in the incident by the total number persons engaged, thus arriving to the actual credit of tree per person.
b.      How to account for the trees that perished after plantation
                                                               i.      It is possible that all the tree saplings planted will not survive. It is our aim to maintain 100 percent success rate around our plantations. What is adviced is to do a replacement plantation at the same place or elsewhere, and report such incidents too for the central reporting updates in the blogs or the central plantation tracking
c.       It is useful to track personal plantation activity and plantation pledge progress together. An excel spreadsheet can be maintained to track the progress of the actual plantation against the pledge made.  The pledge refinements too can be reflected in this tracking.  A sample tracking sheet is made available for such purposes here.


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