The winner of the first European Tree of the Year contest, with 23, 312 votes, is a five hundred year old lime from Romania. In second place a Bulgarian plane (18,378 votes) and the Hungarian plane tree is third (8, 836 votes). In total over 56, 000 votes were cast. The winning tree will be awarded at a ceremony held by the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation and IUCN on 25 May 2011, during Green Week in Brussels.
The competition in the European contest was really keen. The winners of national contests from five European countries were taking part – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. The winning tree is a twenty metre high lime tree located in the village of Leliceni in Romania. According to the documents the lime tree survived several disasters that happened in the village, including a long drought, hail storms, fire and floods. Therefore the people from Leliceni think their lime grows on a lucky spot. You can find more information both about the winner and other finalists on www.treeoftheyear.org.
The aim of the European Tree of the Year contest is to introduce the topic of trees to the general public in Europe and to draw attention to the negative trend of biodiversity loss. “Through the stories of trees and their history connected to local community we try to make people interested in trees and their local natural heritage. High number of votes both from European countries and other continents proves that the topic of trees and their importance for the environment can become a part of the international dialogue.” says Hana Rambousková and adds that next year France, Ireland and Poland will join the contest as well.
The contest was organized under the patronage of Mr Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment with the financial support of the State Environmental Fund and the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic.
If you would like to attend the award ceremony please contact Alison Coleman at IUCN.