Timberland commits five million trees in five years to help solve critical issues in high-risk environments

The Timberland Company believes it can help alleviate hunger, create jobs, protect wildlife and preserve the environment … all through the simple act of planting a tree. Make that five million trees – in five years.

It’s a bold pledge in support of a bold vision. And although the notion is pretty simple – plant some trees, do some good in the world – Timberland’s global reforestation program recognizes that success doesn’t come quite as easily as that.

“You can’t just throw a sapling in the ground and expect the world to change,” said Timberland President & CEO Jeff Swartz. “But done thoughtfully and strategically, with committed partners, planting trees really can lead to meaningful long-term solutions to a whole host of environmental, social and economic problems.”

Timberland’s pledge to plant “five in five” (five million trees in five years) will further the impact of the company’s global reforestation efforts which, over the last 10 years, have resulted in more than one million trees planted. The five million trees will be planted in Haiti and in China’s Horqin Desert – two regions that have long suffered severe and widespread impacts from deforestation.

In China, where desertification is a critical issue, Timberland has partnered with GreenNet (a Japan-based NGO) since 2001 to restore the barren land of the Horqin Desert by planting shrubs and trees, while educating local residents so that they can maintain and continue the planting efforts. In Haiti, Timberland is partnering with nonprofits Trees for the Future and the Yéle Haiti Foundation on Yéle Vert, a community-based agroforestry and environmental education program centered on having farmer-led and -operated tree nurseries that supply multipurpose and fast-growing trees for food, animal fodder, construction material and fuel. Key to the success of both projects is the training and engagement of the local farming population at every level, from selecting the plant species to planting and maintaining the trees and tree nurseries, so that community farmers can eventually lead the sustainable land management practices on their own.

Help Timberland plant trees

To engage a broader audience in its reforestation efforts, Timberland today is launching a new “Timberland Earthkeepers Virtual Forest” Facebook application, created by digital marketing agency, Bridge Worldwide. Consumers can help Timberland plant additional trees in Haiti (above and beyond the “five in five” commitment) by creating a virtual forest on Facebook – the larger the virtual forest, the more real trees planted. Virtual foresters can name their forest, add messages to friends’ trees, and see how they rank against other users. The application also features videos that introduce the farmers participating in Yéle Vert and provides in-depth information about Timberland’s reforestation efforts – helping users to get better educated about and connected to how their online actions are contributing to the company’s programs. The real-world tree planting component of the virtual forest program is capped at one million trees or the end date of October 31, 2011, whichever comes first.

“Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in the world would plant a tree - the right kind of tree, in the right place, where it would be cared for and cultivated and serve its best purpose for the environment and its people? Sure, but that’s not realistic,” continued Swartz. “By launching the virtual forest, we’re trying to give people another way to engage, a way that’s informative and hopefully fun and ladders up to a focused, meaningful real-world program.”

To start growing your own virtual forest, visit www.Facebook.com/Timberland. To learn more about Timberland’s commitment to reforestation, visit www.Timberland.com.

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