We have heard of tree planting as one of the best and easiest ways to combat climate change. But, this extremely cost-effective solution causes extensive damages if done improperly. Here is everything you need to know about in what way reforestation is a positive initiative.
Reforestation is more challenging than it appears. Erin Axelrod, director of Jonas Philanthropies’ Trees for Climate health initiative, says that it is effortless to say you will plant a tree. But, very difficult to commit to the pledge of producing not only a carbon dioxide-free environment while getting all the other benefits a tree is capable of giving.
The world has witnessed various reforestation programs in recent years. In 2019, under 12 hours, Ethiopia planted 350 million saplings by creating a new world record. The Great Green Wall by 2050 was the initiative to plant 87 million acres of trees by China. Moreover, in 2020, the World Economic Forum started its 1t.org project, focusing on conserving, growing, or restoring one trillion trees by 2030.
When wrong planting takes place, it can result in lower biodiversity, dried-up soil, less carbon capture, and the dislocation of native people. Furthermore, scholars claim that tree planting should not deviate from foremost priorities.
Karen Holl, specializing in restoration ecology from the University of California Santa Cruz, stated that ecosystem restoration and tree planting are good initiatives. Instead, it should be considered protection to the existing ecosystem and reduce greenhouse gas emissions rather than a substitute. If the procedure of reforestation is performed wrong, then the trees planted in the wrong places can overcrowd the native trees or species. Conclusively, devour more water than they would require and dry out the soil.
Below are a few points that will determine in what way reforestation is a positive initiative.
Safeguard existing forests: Before laying out infinite efforts to reforest, focus on protecting existing forests.
Selection of areas: Appropriate areas for reforestation are a must. Lands that were not forested earlier should not be used, and instead, degraded forests should be considered.
If possible, use natural regeneration techniques: Making forests regenerate naturally is much more effective and cheaper than tree planting. It offers more incredible biodiversity and carbon capture.
Divert to resilient plant material: Use seedlings or seeds that are heritably diverse and consistent with regional and local genetic variability to increase the resilience of a forest.
Learn through the process: Large-scale initiatives should follow the footsteps of small-scale experiments. It is always a good practice to have an idea from the locals before starting reforestation.
These points made it clear that reforestation is not as easy as it may look. Large-scale reforestation might help prevent climate change and global ecology, but following the proper science and support of indigenous people will offer long-term benefits.