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Will planting trees save the planet?

Healthy Planet  |  By

There’s so much in the news about the importance of saving the planet that it can seem completely overwhelming! We know how busy everyday life is, and not everyone has the time to look into all the available options to help the environment, so we’ve decided to help. In this post, we’ll give you a quick explanation of one of the options you probably hear mentioned the most – tree planting.

You may remember the process of photosynthesis from back in your school days

Trees take sunlight and carbon dioxide (CO2)  and convert them to glucose and oxygen. In this process, carbon is taken from the atmosphere and stored within the plant. By storing carbon in this way, trees are known as carbon sinks. But how big an impact do forests have on global CO2 levels in the atmosphere?

Put simply, the positive impact of tree planting on the environment is huge, providing it is done in the right way. When planting trees, it is really important to make sure that you plant a variety of native species. Not only does this increase the likelihood of these trees surviving (and storing as much carbon as possible in the process), but it will also provide a habitat for local wildlife. Certain tree planting projects also empower local communities by employing them to plant and protect the trees, giving an added benefit beyond just the environmental one!  Vavista is happy to be involved in projects just like these. We are proud partners of Eden Reforestation Projects, making a positive environmental impact whilst supporting local communities.

When done correctly, tree planting is a very effective way of removing carbon from the atmosphere

Conservative estimates suggest that approximately 8.4 tonnes of CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere every year for each hectare of forest planted, with the figure being as high as 28 tonnes in some cases. Considering there is the potential to plant 900 million hectares of forest globally, this can lead to a huge amount of carbon being removed from the atmosphere.

But is this enough?

The short answer is ‘Not quite’. Whilst tree planting is a great way of removing carbon from the atmosphere, the best solution is to stop the carbon getting to the atmosphere at all! Whilst big companies have the biggest impact, and with it the biggest responsibility, the importance of the public cannot be underestimated. Every single decision you make may result in a small amount less CO2 being emitted from the atmosphere, and therefore fewer trees that need to be planted to compensate for it! If you need help on how to reduce your environmental footprint, why not check out our other blog posts here.

Sources:
Bastin, J. F. et al., The global tree restoration potential. Science 365, 76-79 (2019)
Veldman, J et al., Comment on “The global tree restoration potential”. Science 366, 1-3 (2019)

 


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