Ethiopia broke the world record for most trees planted in a single day by planting 353 million trees in just 12 hours on July 29, according to Ethiopian officials.
Millions of Ethiopians helped accomplish the feat as part of a challenge spearheaded by Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The initial plan was to plant 200 million seedlings in 12 hours as part of a wider reforestation effort dubbed Green Legacy.
“#GreenLegacy is a vision for the next generation,” Ahmed said on Twitter Monday, July 29. “It is creating a blueprint for them and showing them the way.”
Within the first six hours of the planting challenge, Ahmed tweeted that about 150 million trees had been planted.
“We’re halfway to our goal,” he said, urging people to “build on the momentum in the remaining hours.”
In only six more hours, the Prime Minister again took to Twitter to announce Ethiopia had not only met its “collective #GreenLegacy goal,” but exceeded it.
“Today is a testimony that unity is power,” Ahmed said. “Ethiopians all together made history again!!!”
Getahun Mekuria, the country’s minster for innovation and technology, tweeted that 353,633,660 tree seedlings total were planted on July 29 as part of the initiative.
Guinness World Records has not yet responded to an Atlanta Black Star request to confirm the recent planting total, but the prime minister’s office told The Associated Press that specially developed software is helping with the count.
Guinness World Records currently recognizes India as the one-day tree-planting record-holder on its website. There, 800,000 people planted more than 50 million saplings three years ago.
Ethiopia’s larger goal is to plant 4 billion trees during the rainy season between May and October, Ahmed said on Twitter in May.
A recent study estimated that restoring the world’s lost forests could remove two thirds of planet-warming carbon that human activity caused, according to CNN.
Ethiopia joined more than 20 other African nations to restore 100 million hectares of land as part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative.
That’s more than 247 million acres.
In 2018, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released an assessment that showed 73 percent of Ethiopia’s total land mass could benefit from tree-based landscape restoration.