A study led by researchers at ETH Zurich found that forest restoration is our best bet for combating climate change. The study used earth system models to predict how much trees we could plant globally, and how much carbon those trees could store. It turns out that we have enough space for at least 0.9 billion hectares of more trees! If those new forests reached maturity, they would store 205 gigatonnes of carbon – that’s two thirds of the carbon generated by humans since the industrial revolution.
What’s great about this restoration approach is that there are so many benefits. Planting trees requires no new technology or industry, and we get to surround ourselves with more nature. Afforestation also creates more habitat for our furry friends. Habitat loss is one of the leading causes of species loss.
Our results highlight the opportunity of climate change mitigation through tree restoration but also the urgent need for action.“The global tree restoration potential” Bastin et al
The study also found that more than 50% of the tree restoration potential can be found in only six countries: Russia, United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and China. This stresses the important responsibility of some of the world’s leading economies, including the US.
So where do we go from here? The report suggests that “we need better country-level forest accounting, which is critical for effective management and restoration strategies.”
This places ecosystem restoration as the most effective solution at our disposal to mitigate climate change.“The global tree restoration potential” Bastin et al