As deforestation has ramped up, Earth’s climate has changed significantly. Most strategies for tackling climate change focus on reducing future emissions. Reforestation presents unique opportunities to address emerging issues associated with climate change by conserving and managing genetic diversity to adapt to a changing climate, as well as sequestrating carbon to counter greenhouse gas emissions. That’s an area almost as big as the United States. They might be even better carbon sinkers in the future. Trees play an important role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Multiply that by the millions of trees across the world’s woodlands and you can get a sense of just how hard forests are working to keep our greenhouse gases in check. Conservation International’s blog looks to make sense of it in an occasional explainer series we’re calling “What on Earth?” In this installment and video, we explore "reforestation," a practice critical to stopping climate change. It is critical that we invest in a reforestation program that will advance overall forest health, boost water quality and quantity, allow for the restoration of native grasslands, reduce soil erosion, enhance wildlife habitat and livestock grazing conditions, and improve carbon sequestration. Discover how reforestation can impact climate change by decreasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There's power in understanding. newsletter. In other words, battling climate change with carbon-sucking trees requires more planning and strategy than just planting trees everywhere we can. Forests may also have other effects that can offset some of their carbon absorption. “The point is that [reforestation is] so much more vastly powerful than anyone ever expected,” said Thomas Crowther, a professor of environmental systems science at ETH Zurich and a co-author of the paper. Reforestation is seen as a way to help cool the climate, sucking excess warming carbon out of the atmosphere. How a New Hampshire libertarian utopia was foiled by bears. Climate change correlated with trends of temperature rise, decrease in rainfall and in the amount of snow has a wide range of negative impacts on environmental systems, including forests (EEA, 2012). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There is much more on the "Environment Quotes" page, and potential options and opportunities regarding increased CO2 on the "Climate Change, Reforestation, Epiphytes" page. She is working on a project, known as the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI), that uses LIDAR aboard the International Space Station to create a three-dimensional map of the world’s forests. Beyond mitigating climate change, trees help purify water, clean air, and provide homes to wildlife, so there’s a lot to take into account. Here's why reforestation isn't the only solution to climate change. Humans are clearing Earth's forests to make way for development, agriculture, and other uses - this can have severe consequences for our environment. This concept note concerns reforestation and energy efficiency through the diffusion of improved stove technologies to combat climate change while minimizing catastrophic risks (Kabuno) vulnerability factor. Avoiding deforestation and forest degradation offers a … The situation is even more dire in the tropics, where less than half of forests remain standing today. Current seedling production capacity in the state of New Mexico is approximately 300,000 per year. Long Covid "is a phenomenon that is really quite real and quite extensive," Anthony Fauci said earlier this month. Reforestation. But as average temperatures keep climbing, forests may lose their effectiveness in soaking up emissions, so time is running out. But it’s not always that simple, writes Michael Marshall. The Pentagon’s diversity training needs an update. Forests are widely recognized as important carbon sinks, or ecosystems capable of capturing and storing large amounts of … But statements and media coverage like this feed the false belief that we could stop climate change– through “natural” to boot — if there were only sufficient public awareness and political will. Even if a government were inclined to restore a forest, there is a finite amount of money, resources, and political capital to do so. the establishment of a seed collection program and associated seed bank; the expansion of nursery capacity in New Mexico to produce 5 million seedlings annually to meet current and future reforestation needs; the development of data collection on both tree survival and climate models to improve the likelihood that trees planted in the next decade will survive and thrive; the development and implementation of monitoring protocols to track seed collection, storage, and production, nursery systems, planting techniques, and reforestation success to facilitate adaptive management. Another paper out this week in Science Advances offers clear advice on where to focus: places where forest restoration would be most viable and beneficial. This is incorrect. climate change and are still too low to reduce emissions fast enough to limit global warming to a safe level. So plants in general and trees in particular play important roles in regulating weather and the climate around the world. , 2013). New Mexico Sen. Pat Woods is a Republican from Broadview. “To really make this work economically kind of requires a frameshift in the way we generate economies,” Chazdon said. In particular, the highest average scores were in African countries like Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda. Earth Day Network’s Canopy Project plants trees to benefit local communities, increase habitat for species, and combat climate change. Going hand-in-hand with efforts to reduce deforestation, urgent action is needed to restore the planet’s … But Crowther and his colleagues also wanted to figure out how much carbon-sucking potential we’ve lost due to deforestation and how much we could get back by allowing forests spring back up — and planting them — in the places they once were. And many people who live on cleared forests subsist on their farming, so they need to be compensated and given alternative livelihoods if that land is going to be repurposed. However, Laura Duncanson, an assistant professor and a forest researcher at the University of Maryland who was not involved in the study, said this estimate is simplistic and doesn’t take into account much of the regional variation that can influence a forest’s capacity to absorb carbon. Restoring the world’s forests on an unprecedented scale is “the best climate change solution available”, according to a new study.The researchers claim that covering 900m hectares of land – roughly the size of the continental US – with trees could store up to 205 billion tonnes of carbon, about two thirds of the carbon that humans have already put into the atmosphere. A new bill could make that happen. Put together, these hot spots span an area totaling 101 million hectares, about the size of Spain and Sweden put together, scattered around the world. “We have a lot more certainty with how forests will respond to current growing conditions than in the future,” Duncanson said. Local demand for materials, land, and agriculture is often why these forests were cleared in the first place. “Our sense is that these really good bets for restoration are found all over the world and many countries can participate in these activities,” Chazdon said. “We know business as usual will be disastrous,” he said. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned last year that the world may have as little as 12 years left to limit warming this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Greenhouse gases trap heat from the sun in Earth's atmosphere, which can lead to global climate change. climate change, reforestation is emerging as both a promising and controversial solution. Robin Chazdon, a forest ecologist and an emeritus professor at the University of Connecticut, wanted to figure out which restored forests would deliver the most net benefits to humanity. The Crowther Lab's latest research proves that reforestation is the top climate change solution – by far. Warmer, more adverse climate conditions are creating more difficult growing conditions for forest ecosystems. Trees are usually 50 percent carbon by weight, and the vast majority of that comes from carbon dioxide absorbed from the air. Climate change isn’t humanity’s only global environmental challenge. It is 2.2 billion acres. Ron Johnson turned the Senate into a platform for discredited election conspiracy theories. Restoration opportunities exist around the world, in both temperate and tropical regions. With increasing environmental awareness, a global initiative has been taken to regenerate lost forest hamlets across the world. Duncanson, however, said that it’s not clear what direction carbon absorption will go under climate change. “It’s nice to see that we have gone to the point of actually having maps of areas to restore forests,” she said. Tropical reforestation (TR) has been highlighted as an important intervention for climate change mitigation because of its carbon storage potential. Land use changes, especially in the form of deforestation, are the second largest anthropogenic source of atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions, after fossil fuel combustion. Let’s take a moment to recall why plants are so critical to the global carbon cycle. Without these forests, these regions would see big changes in rainfall patterns, reductions in air quality, and the loss of some of the most unique species in the world. Plants also move moisture into the air and release aerosols that can contribute to precipitation. “The race [against climate change] is one I’m not sure we’re going to win,” he says. 'A forgotten solution to climate change,' massive reforestation across U.S. is seen as critical to reducing climate change risks. The other problem with relying on reforestation to combat climate change is the timeline. Moving Forward. Reforestation a powerful weapon against climate change. ", The many strange long-term symptoms of Covid-19, explained. Other researchers, writing in The Conversation, also suggested that Crowther’s carbon storage estimate is too high, and ignores the amount of carbon already in the soil and the fact that forests can take centuries to mature. Study: Climate change can be reversed by planting a forest 2 times the size of the U.S. A new study suggests that human beings could save themselves from the … Our analysis excluded reforestation in boreal regions since scientists question the climate benefits of reforestation in these regions. "They should not only focus on … All rights reserved. These burn hotter and faster, potentially changing the physical characteristics of the soil and jeopardizing re-growth. In the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session, I intend to request a $25 million appropriation to support reforestation efforts, beginning with nurseries and seedlings. There is a distinction here between restoration, also known as reforestation, and afforestation. Our planet is currently losing forests at a staggering rate: We’re losing more than 18 million acres of forests every year — that’s about 27 soccer fields of forest lost every minute. So despite the theoretical potential of countering two-thirds of human-made emissions, it will be breathtakingly hard. This document presents funding proposal "FP062: Poverty, Reforestation, Energy and Climate Change project," as approved by the Board of the Green Climate Fund at B.19. * "It is easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they have been fooled". It estimates that letting saplings regrow on land where forests have been cleared would increase global forested area by one-third and remove 205 billion metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere. https://t.co/JSgj0NUfjy. Without the right level of ambition on climate change and well-functioning carbon pricing systems huge costs are expected for future generations. Video. Climate change in turn is starting to affect forests and their ability to store carbon. TR can also play other frequently overlooked, but significant, roles in helping society and ecosystems adapt to climate variability and change. The socio-economic-environmental approach puts reforestation at the center by “It’s highlighting the potential of forests, but there’s so much more research to do.”. Learn the value of large-scale forest landscapes and their role in the carbon cycle. These are the findings of a new study in Nature Climate Change of the cost of reforestation across 90 tropical countries that I conducted with colleagues at The Nature Conservancy and the University of Wisconsin. Vox answers your most important questions and gives you clear information to help make sense of an increasingly chaotic world. Trees also anchor soil with their roots. The reforestation landscape is dotted with small groups, ... that trees should not be planted everywhere the model suggests they can grow. Although reforestation seems like a no-brainer, the study addresses a key gap in understanding how it would work as a climate-change strategy. Creative Commons: Andres Azpurua. All plants use sunlight, water, soil nutrients, and carbon dioxide to generate energy and to grow. The latest special report (1) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that an increase of 1 billion ha of forest will be necessary to … The former refers to bringing trees back to areas that were previously forested, whether that’s through planting trees or allowing the woodlands to regrow on their own. Higher temperatures can also change rainfall patterns, leaving some trees vulnerable to drought or pests like bark beetles. SINGAPORE - Reforestation has been touted as a relatively quick and easy fix for dealing with climate change, with plans afoot both in Singapore … They concluded that the new forested areas would soak up an astounding two-thirds of humanity’s emissions in the atmosphere since the 19th century. You should absolutely read about it. © 2020 www.lcsun-news.com. Forests play an important an important role in climate change. Of course, reforestation isn’t as easy as that - which we’ll touch on below - but the idea remains a simple one. Which animals can catch Covid-19, which can’t — and why it matters. Forests also emit aerosols, some of which have heat-trapping impacts, so reforestation does not necessarily lead to a straightforward reduction in global warming. While some forests may benefit from more carbon dioxide in the air, others dry out, increasing risks of wildfires. Duncanson said that Chazdon’s and Crowther’s papers both stand out for getting specific in identifying regions where trees could regrow. Experts agree that reforesting our planet is critical if we are to reverse biodiversity loss and head off the worst of climate change. Reforestation could help deal with the hundreds of gigatonnes of carbon already in the atmosphere. Seriously, this happened. A silver maple sapling, for example, would sequester 400 pounds of carbon dioxide over 25 years. This episode, which features Prof. Dr. Thomas Crowther and Dr. Jean-François Bastin, explores this ground-breaking discovery and what it means for the future of our planet: Another study out this week tries to offer more specific guidance on where we should be focusing reforestation efforts. Trees play an important role in absorbing the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, that fuels global climate change - this is called carbon sequestration. People living in or near forests can collect accurate data on forest change, drivers of change, threats to reforestation, and biophysical and socioeconomic impacts that remote sensing cannot. Tropical reforestation, together with avoided tropical deforestation, could comprise as much as one-third of a comprehensive and cost-effective near-term solution to climate change. Nature-based solutions, like restoring forest ecosystems, are one of the unsung heroes in mitigating the impacts of climate change. According to Owen Burney, New Mexico State University associate professor and superintendent at the John D. Harrington Forest Research Center, reforestation needs in New Mexico are currently estimated to be between 1 million to 2.6 million acres, which would require 150 million to 390 million seedlings. Crowther hinted at these findings earlier this year and noted that this would amount to growing 1.2 trillion new trees across the planet. These plants then die and decay. Reforestation also impacts climate change. Keeping global emissions in line with that goal demands a full-court press across all sectors of society, from changing how we produce food to generating all of our power from clean sources. Sign up for the That’s why restoring forests stands to be a massive global opportunity to combat warming. They are whole self-regulating ecosystems, from the soil bacteria that fix nitrogen to fertilize roots to the rodents and birds that spread seeds to the fungi that rot away carcasses and break down tree trunks. Optimists view reforestation as a cost-efficient strategy to sequester CO 2 and mitigate climate change … Still, supporting natural systems that can soak up carbon is widely accepted as a major component of any climate change mitigation strategy — in addition to deploying clean energy, switching to electric vehicles, and curbing consumption overall. "The science and practice of restoration are often quite separate, says Holl, an expert in tropical forest restoration. They say planting trees there could buy us 20 years in the fight against climate change. A purely monetary calculation can backfire if the value of cutting down the forest suddenly increases. The challenges of such a massive reforestation effort are immense, however: Deforestation is still rampant and is accelerating in some parts of the world. “The sooner [reforestation] happens, the better.” A map showing where how the … But it’s not always that simple, writes Michael Marshall. Forests play an important role in regulating our climate because they absorb CO2 from the air and store it in trunks, branches, roots and leaves. At the moment, our biggest problem — climate change — could be ended by simply planting trees. “We did find some concentrations of these highest scores were distributed all over the tropics.”. We don’t know.”. 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