A recent study found that new forests might be our best shot at saving the world. A global guide to doing it right.
They make it look so easy. Credit: Nathan Anerson via Unsplash
It’s not often these days that there is good news about climate change. So when a recent study suggested that establishing a trillion new trees around the world could turn back the climate clock to the 1970’s, it landed like a bombshell in the scientific community. Researchers analyzing satellite data calculated about 2.2 billion acres of available land around the world that could be converted into forest cover, capturing 205 gigatonnes of CO2. This could bring down atmospheric levels by twenty five percent.
Prof. Thomas Crowther who co-authored the research said, “We all knew that restoring forests could play a part in tackling climate change, but we didn’t really know how big the impact would be. Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today.”
That’s a big statement — one that got the whole world got excited to run out and plant trees. Hell, it even became an election platform.
But there are many challenges with planning landscape-level projects decades into the future, especially as climate change alters local growing conditions. And unless the underlying causes of past deforestation are addressed, any new trees planted may suffer the same fate as the ones they are replacing.
So before we all stick shovels in the ground, we decided to take a look at some examples of resilient reforestation efforts and why they worked. MORE