Is planting trees enough..?
The benefit of planting trees
When it comes to removing human-caused GHG emissions from Earth’s atmosphere, there is no denying that trees are a big help. Through photosynthesis, trees pull the gas out of the air to help grow their leaves, branches and roots. Forest soils can also sequester vast reservoirs of carbon.
There are more than 3 trillion trees on the planet and recently, there has been increased enthusiasm among governments, businesses and individuals for ambitious projects to plant billions, even a trillion more. Although these projects will help offset emissions, there are some concerns surrounding the focus on new projects.
SCIENTISTS URGE CAUTION
As global eagerness for planting more trees grows, some scientists are urging caution. Before going ahead with such ambitious projects, it’s important for these projects to address a range of scientific, political, social and economic concerns as poorly designed projects that don’t address these issues could do more harm than good.
Not enough focus on emissions reduction
There’s too much focus on numbers of seedlings planted and too little time spent on how to keep the trees alive in the long term. There’s also not enough emphasis on how different types of forests sequester very different amounts of carbon. In general, there’s too much talk about trees and not enough about other carbon-storing ecosystems.
People tend to forget that a 20 year old tree will sequester much more carbon than a 2 year old one. So, we need to shift our focus to maintaining the old forests that once were new tree plantations. In a world driven by money, finding ways to create value from the old forests is key to keeping the planting momentum going.