Saudi Arabia has announced a roadmap to achieve its ambitious greening target of growing 10 billion trees under the Saudi Green Initiative, a project spearheaded by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Saudi Green Initiative.

 The roadmap, launched at the second annual MENA Climate Week (October 8 to 12) in Riyadh, lays out a plan for Saudi Arabia’s habitat zones to achieve the maximum potential vegetation cover.

 Additionally, it considers zones such as cities, highways and greenbelts to ensure that trees are planted where they can deliver ecosystem services that benefit the health and wellbeing of Saudi residents.

 City centres are projected to benefit from increased tree canopy cover which will reduce temperatures by at least 2.2 deg C and improve air quality. Reduced CO2 levels is an anticipated benefit of increased tree plantation and green spaces in cities.

Saudi Arabia’s tree planting target is one of the highest globally. The 10 billion tree target was originally announced as being equivalent to rehabilitating 40 million hectares of land. In the process of conducting the study, the target has been revised to 74.8 million hectares of land being rehabilitated.

Planting 10 billion trees amounts to one per cent of the global greening target and 20 per cent of the Middle East Green Initiative’s afforestation target of planting 50 billion trees across the region.  The chosen roadmap will be implemented in two phases. The first, extending between 2024 and 2030, will focus on the environmental domain, taking a nature-based approach. From 2030 onwards, Phase Two will be implemented incorporating a comprehensive approach with the greatest level of human intervention.