In commemoration of International Forest Day, the winner of the Asian Tree of the Year contest 2018 was unveiled on 21 March in Brussels, by Natalie Pauwels, Assistant to the Director General, DG Environment, EU Commission along with CEO of Carbon Consulting Company, Sanith de Silva Wijeyeratne. After the deliberation of professional photographers and creatives, The Lone Survivor from Kamaretaar, Madhyapur Thimi, Nepal received the highest score, followed by Gulmohar Tree of Gulara, Kailali, Nepal and the Tree of Life from Wellawaya, Sri Lanka.

The Lone Survivor has been saved to live another day in the midst of rapid urbanisation. The

Peepal tree, or Ficus Religiosa, is considered as a sacred tree by followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism across the Southeast Asian region. The winner of this year’s ‘Asian Tree

of the Year’ contest captivated the judges with his story and photograph of the last standing tree where once stood a whole forest. “I really appreciate the recognition of my photographic work at the Asian Tree of the Year 2018. I am very honoured and I would like to thank the jury and organisers for this prize. I would like to congratulate all the participants who were a part of this exemplary competition. Being a part of this competition has made me conscious about my surroundings, the nature and the trees around me. It is an important task for all of us to take care of our biodiversity and we should try to maintain it. I hope that the Asian Tree of the Year will continue to grow and succeed in its aim to make people aware of the biodiversity and ecosystem and motivate them to conserve it in the coming years.”

Our panel of distinguished judges had the opportunity to view trees from all five participating countries across Asia, including two new participating countries — The Philippines and Brunei.

Following the top 3 trees, the results of the judging are:

  1. Life Companion, Rain Tree – Malaysia

  2. A Look from Below, Jelawai Tree – Singapore

  3. 300 Year Old Chap Tree, Chap Tree – Nepal

  4. Old Lady Flamboyant, Delonix Regis Tree – Sri Lanka

  5. The Neem Tree – India

  6. The Twin Trees, Albizia Lubbock Trees – Sri Lanka

  7. The Ugly Tree, Madras Thorn Tree – Singapore

  8. Banyan Tree, Aalada Mara Tree – India

  9. The Frangipani Tree – Singapore

  10. Grandmother Willow – Malaysia

  11. A Mango Story, Mango Tree – Malaysia

  12. A Spiritual Tree, Aalada Mara Tree – India

  13. Acacia Tree – The Philippines

Observed each year, International Forest Day was initiated by the United Nations to celebrate the beauty of the world’s forests and to raise awareness about the vital role trees play in the world. This year’s campaign focused on the contribution and importance of trees when building sustainable cities and communities. Asian Tree of the Year aims to start the conversation on the significance of the vast and wondrous biodiversity in Sri Lanka and across the South East Asian Region.