Trees and vegetation intensively sequestrate atmospheric carbon, removing carbon dioxide from the air and returning oxygen to it. Therefore, it is not surprising that more trees are needed to clean the atmosphere and eliminate the greenhouse effect.
However, the majority of scientists do not seriously consider this possibility. It is believed that the efficiency of the process is small, and the costs are not tangible. In addition, to plant a tree you need a suitable place and there are not so many vast areas around us.
A group of scientists has created a map of territories potentially suitable for planting trees, The Guardian reports. In their opinion, this is the best way to battle climate warming which can be adopted not only by states or environmental groups but also by individuals around the globe.
They proved that the development of abandoned lands would solve two major problems - climate change and the extermination of living organisms. In addition, vegetation can stop soil erosion.
Swiss environmentalists have estimated that planting forests on a global scale - with an increase of their number by about a third - would stop the accumulation of anthropogenic carbon dioxide, as well as reduce its current content in the air. Scientists have estimated the potential amount of carbon that trees that accumulate biomass can sequestrate from the air thus eliminating the possibility of the catastrophic destruction of the Earth's biosphere.
Thomas Crowther of ETH Zurich in his interview for The Independent said that existing territories of the planet could easily accommodate about 1.2 trillion trees. He also stressed that urban or agricultural land is not a target - only abandoned or degraded territories are. Their development will help to fight climate change and the extinction of living organisms.
Crowther also emphasized that planting trees is the most potent of all the proposed ways to combat climate change. The scientist accentuated that it is necessary to reduce emissions from combustible fuel and deforestation to zero - only then can the further deterioration of the climate crisis be prevented, and it will take the forests 50–100 years to recover and decompose 200 billion tons of carbon dioxide.
Other researchers agreed that in order to systematically solve the problem and prevent catastrophic consequences, it is necessary to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, Tom Crowther's research does not answer the question of how the tree-planting program will be financed and how it will be implemented. The scientist told The Guardian that now the most effective projects spend 30 cents on one tree, that is, for $ 300 billion it would be possible to plant a trillion trees. In his opinion, the only way to solve the financial issue is to reward the owners of land plots for growing a tree, collecting the necessary amount from donations.
Wales became the centre of a major worldwide project to mitigate the impact of global warming and confront climate change by planting trees. When the scientists were considering the suitability of spaces for tree planting, they omitted all fields with crops and metropolitan areas. However, they did include pastureland because they say some trees can benefit grazing animals. Unlike England, Wales has more land, which would be suitable for tree planting.
As the author of the study noted, the entire world can become a platform for the program, and large states such as Canada, China, the USA, and others have enough place for cultivating trees. Some programs already exist, but as the study showed, the participant-countries decided to restore forests only on half of the territories suitable for this.
“If a tree dies, plant another in its place.” Carolus Linnaeus