Here's how to deal with climate change by planting more trees

James Marshall
July 8, 2019

Planting trees is not a substitute for weaning the world off burning oil, coal and gas, the chief cause of global warming, Crowther emphasized.

You reap what you sow, so it may be time for humans to start planting more seeds. A recent study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology gives an estimate of the number of trees humans need to plant to banish the imminent calamity that is climate change.

For the study, published today in the journal Science, a team of researchers at Crowther Lab in Switzerland mapped out all the land on Earth that could feasibly support a forest, then subtracted current forests along with agricultural and urban areas from the total. Lead author Jean-Francois Bastin estimated there's space for at least 1 trillion more trees, but it could be 1.5 trillion. It finds that there is likely to be an increase in the area of northern boreal forests in regions such as Siberia, but tree cover there averages only 30 to 40 per cent.

"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", Thomas Crowther, a co-author of the study and a professor at ETH Zurich, said in a news release.

According to the study authors, 50% of the available land for new forests is in Russian Federation, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and China.

The researchers used Google Earth to see what areas could support more trees, while leaving room for people and crops.

The flexibility of trees to absorb carbon dioxide has long made them an invaluable weapon within the fight in opposition to increasing temperatures. The city has ambitious plans to plant 3 million new trees by 2030_ a move that experts say could offer relief to the city's muggy and sometimes tropical weather. But we must act quickly, as forests take decades to mature and achieve their full potential as a source of natural carbon storage, ' said Prof. "I thought restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than all of the other climate change solutions proposed".

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mentioned that if the world needed to restrict the rise to 1.5C by 2050, an additional 1bn hectares (2.4bn acres) of trees could be needed.

The new study reports that this is "undoubtedly achievable under the current climate".

The study also shows where in the world these trees 1 trillion trees could be planted. But they did include grazing land, on which the researchers say a few trees can also benefit sheep and cattle.

Planting new trees isn't all rainbows and butterflies, though.

Researchers at a Swiss University found that almost two and a quarter billion acres worldwide are eligible to be replanted with trees.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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