Massive restoration of world’s forests would cancel out a decade of CO2 emissions, analysis suggests

New findings suggest trees are ‘our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change’, says scientist

high-angle photography of green trees
Norvan Falls Trail, North Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Spencer Watson/unsplash

Replenishing the world’s forests on a grand scale would suck enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cancel out a decade of human emissions, according to an ambitious new study.

Scientists have established there is room for an additional 1.2 trillion trees to grow in parks, woods and abandoned land across the planet.

Combining data from ground-based surveys and satellites, Dr Crowther and his colleagues arrived at a figure of three trillion – over seven times more than a previous Nasa estimate. The same approach, using machine learning and AI to analyse the enormous data set, allowed the researchers to predict the number of trees that could feasibly be planted in empty patches around the world.

Dr Crowther said undervaluing trees means scientists have also been massively underestimating the potential for forests to combat climate change. MORE

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