Future of the Environment

Massive reforestation is key to averting a climate catastrophe

A view of the Garcia River Forest near Longvale, California July 27, 2009. The trees which trap quantities of the carbon dioxide that is warming the planet are sold as living carbon traps or "sinks" rather than cut for timber, a model that could go global. But the prospect of a worldwide market could also attract hustlers eager to make a quick buck without making a difference to the planet. Photo taken July 27, 2009.  To match feature USA-CLIMATE/TRADING    REUTERS/Peter Henderson    (UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS) - GM1E58L0LFY01

Trees are a highly effective carbon sink. Image: REUTERS/Peter Henderson

Mark Maslin
Professor of Earth System Science, UCL
Simon Lewis
Professor of Global Change Science, University of Leeds and UCL
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Future of the Environment

Trees absorb CO₂ from the air and store the carbon as bark and other tissue. Image: Mark Maslin, Author provided
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Where the billion hectares of forest could be planted – excluding desert, farmland and urban areas. Image: Crowther Lab, Author provided
How all of that new forest would look, alongside what’s already there. Image: Crowther Lab, Author provided
Radically reducing carbon emissions and absorbing the carbon that’s already in the atmosphere will be necessary to avert catastrophic climate change. Image: Mark Maslin, Author provided
Tree planting schemes in Mexico have helped the country restore 63,000 hectares of forest since 2009. Image: EPA/Jose Mendez
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Related topics:
Future of the EnvironmentClimate ChangeUnited StatesForests
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