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Tree planting is not a panacea for climate change

May 27, 2020
News item image The climatic impact of a forest is a function of more than just carbon storage

One Earth presents a collection of seven expert perspectives on the role of tree planting for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Among them is NbSI director, Professor Nathalie Seddon.

Some key points include:

  • The Trillion Trees initiative requires large investments from governments, ‘shovel-ready’ projects for investment, and robust social safeguards. Long-term tree stewardship with local involvement must be guaranteed. Barriers to success, such as unclear land tenure and high opportunity costs, must be confronted.
  • Forests need to be resilient to changing climatic conditions – one way of providing resilience is having high biodiversity.
  • The climatic impact of a forest is a function of more than just carbon storage: effects of forests on temperature, precipitation, wind and radiation depend on species composition, forest structure, phenology, soil and water. As climate regimes change, so will the effects of trees on the climate.
  • We need intact, healthy ecosystems of all types – not just forests – to provide resilience to climate change.
  • Reducing meat consumption has potential to free up vast swathes of land for natural regeneration of forests and other ecosystems, and reduce the drive for destruction of natural habitats.
  • Better farm and forest management is an often-forgotten Natural Climate Solution, but is fast-acting and has significant potential.

Read the full article here.