Researchers have quantified how much land around the world is available for reforestation, as well as the extent of carbon emissions these would prevent from being released into the atmosphere. Read this article to know more about Where To Plant A Trillion Trees To Save Planet Earth. More in News
- The latest special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that an increase of 1 billion hectares of forest will be necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2050.
- Trees, which absorb carbon dioxide, are a natural sink for the gas emitted into the atmosphere.
- According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, trees absorb about 25% of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels, while the oceans absorb another 25%.
- The half that remains in the atmosphere contributes to global warming.
- Now, researchers have quantified how much land around the world is available for reforestation, as well as the extent of carbon emissions these would prevent from being released into the atmosphere.
- The study, by researchers with the Crowther Lab of ETH Zurich University, has been published in the journal Science.
- On the basis of nearly 80,000 images from around the world, they calculated that around 0.9 billion hectares of land would be suitable for reforestation.
- Earth’s continuous tree cover is currently 2.8 billion hectares, and the researchers calculated that the land available could support 4.4 billion hectares or an additional 1.6 billion hectares.
- Out of this, 0.9 billion hectares — an area the size of the US — fulfill the criterion of not being used by humans, according to the paper.
- The study found that the six countries with the greatest reforestation potential are Russia (151 million hectares); the US (103 million hectares); Canada (78.4 million hectares); Australia (58 million hectares); Brazil (49.7 million hectares); and China (40.2 million hectares).
- These new forests, once mature, could store 205 billion tonnes of carbon, the researchers calculated to Save Planet Earth...
- That is about two-thirds of the 300 billion tonnes of carbon that has been released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity since the industrial age.
The issue with the report
- In India, there is room for an estimated 9.93 million extra hectares of forest according to report
- India’s existing forest cover makes up 7,08,273 sq km (about 70.83 million hectares) and tree cover another 93,815 sq km (9.38 million hectares), according to the Environment and Forest Ministry’s ‘State of Forest Report 2017’.
Source: Also Read: Wanted: Better Governance Models For India’s Forests A Case For Nutrition Counselling
- The land proposed to be reforested in the report is owned and managed by many private persons, companies, nongovernmental organizations, and governments. This may not be available for reforestation
- Also, many critics found the report’s estimate of carbon removal per area “remarkably high”.