Reforestation on a grand scale could temper global warming
We’ve all heard that trees can help counter the effects of global warming. But what if certain species of trees planted in a certain soil in the right parts of the world could actually capture two-thirds of all of the carbon dioxide we’ve generated since before the industrial revolution. That’s a lot of carbon dioxide. Reforestation on a massive scale could be the answer to the earth’s carbon problem. Read on to learn about this amazing forest restoration project, the research done by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and what it means for our planet.
Reforestation could be our solution to global warming
As humans, we’ve generated an unprecedented amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The idea of forest restoration is one of the most impactful solutions to combating global warming to date. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich published a study that showed 80,000 photo measurements of worldwide tree coverage. They were combined with global databases containing information about climate conditions and soil. The study revealed a map of how many trees could be supported by the earth naturally. It showed where forests could grow on the earth and where they currently grow now. Existing forests were subtracted as well as urban areas and areas used for agriculture. The remaining area is 0.9 billion hectares that aren’t currently forested that could be. By the time the forests have matured, the growth of these new trees could store 205 gigatons of carbon. These gigatons could be maintained as new trees grow and old trees die.
The $300 billion plan would be worth every penny
A map has been created that can be accessed by the public showing where trees and forests could be planted. Growing this amount of trees could cost over $300 billion to plant. This is still less expensive than some of the other solutions being offered up today. These alternative carbon solutions include growing algae in the ocean to soak up carbon. Direct air capture is another solution which uses machines to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Despite the costs, forests will also prevent some loss of species. Reforestation will lead to biodiversity and prevent animal species from disappearing. Biodiversity leads to clean water, medicine, and food. Although reforesting trees seems like the perfect solution, there has been some opposition. Trees use up a lot of water and agriculture in some dryer climates could be threatened. Some locals could also oppose the land forests will use. Local involvement and support are crucial to making this plan effective. The key is to reforest in areas where they have the most to gain. Parts of the tropics, for example, will see higher than average benefits.
How trees affect global warming
Trees are crucial to stopping climate change. Trees directly remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Photosynthesis is the process in which forests offset up to 10 to 20 percent of our yearly greenhouse gas emissions. Trees also help prevent flooding by catching rainwater and reducing erosion. Trees absorb pollutants and catch particulate matter. Having trees in urban areas also reduces heat. Lower energy consumption equals less carbon dioxide emissions. The more trees we can plant and the more we can reforest, the better chance we’ll have at combating climate change. With the recent development of reforestation mapping, we have serious potential to make changes. These tools can show us where to concentrate efforts, how to do so in a cost-effective way, and where we’ll see the best results. The key to the future will be politicians and the science community in partnership and open communication.