Reforestation: The New Norm

Reforestation is one of the baseline methods utilized by public institutions, corporations, and private individuals alike to offset climate change. Included in almost every key piece of climate legislation, the goal of reforestation is to plant millions of acres of trees. This offsets carbon emissions as well as mitigates the impacts of deforestation. As it stands now, almost 25 million acres each year fall prey to deforestation due to farming of timber, beef, and palm oil. 

A fan favorite

Most environmental advocates widely support reforestation as a method of climate change mitigation. Policies like the Green New Deal and the Paris climate change accords include proposals of reforestation, demonstrating wide-reaching support in the realm of policy. In the scientific community, researchers at Nasa have outlined the impacts of reforestation on a grander scale: 

By planting more than a half a trillion trees, we could capture about 205 gigatons of carbon, reducing atmospheric carbon by about 25 percent.

–Nasa’s Alan Buis, reporting research led by Jean-Francois Bastin of ETH-Zurich

Buis continues to address the benefits of reforestation, particularly if restoration of degraded forests and proper maintenance is practiced jointly.


RELATED: 6 Barriers to Protecting and Restoring Forests — and Strategies to Overcome Them, Deal of the Week: The War Against Deforestation, How and Where to Plant 60 Billion Trees in the US

Not so simple…

While reforestation as a practice is generally supported, it is by no means a magic wand to eliminate climate change independently. Nasa’s Sassan Saatchi notes that reforestation is  “not a substitute for reducing fossil fuel emissions.” It must be practiced in conjunction with other climate change mitigation practices. 

 

 

In the picture: Deforestation. Picture Credit: crustmania.

Not only this, but reforestation must follow strict practices in order to be efficient. Many outline that the trees planted ought to be native for their landscapes to promote effective biodiversity. As well, planting some types of trees, such as those found in boreal forests, absorb sunlight and create adverse warming effects. 

These complications are concerning, but they ultimately guide and promote effective practices in future efforts. 

Reforestation in Practice: Treedom

After researching the intricacies of reforestation, I decided to look into Treedom. Treedom is a startup dedicated to reforestation. The platform is simple: individuals or organizations pay to have a tree planted and watch it grow online. Treedom has planted over 1 million trees in African, Italian, and South American local farms. 

In the picture: Fern tree. Picture credit: Matthew Paul Argall

While some may argue the scale of Treedom’s work is smaller than necessary, the goals and practices of this startup align with effective reforestation methods. Working with local farms, Treedom plants trees in areas that are in need and accounts for biodiversity.

Most importantly, Treedom creates a relationship between individuals and the environment to promote ongoing climate activism. Users follow the growth of their tree and feel a first-hand connection to their contribution to reducing carbon emissions. Treedom promotes reforestation on a scalable and personal level. 

Following the Trend: Pachama and SilviaTerra

Other organizations similarly have attacked the problem of deforestation. Pachama has raised $4.1 million to plant and monitor carbon offsetting projects. These projects are located in South America and within the United States, and primarily rely on technological developments in understanding and monitoring carbon offsetting. 

In the picture: Drone. Picture Credit: Blondinrikard Fröberg

In addition to Pachama, SilviaTerra is a technology company that produces monitoring technology for reforestation. While SilviaTerra does not operate to reforest itself, the company’s mission is to aid the reforestation system through technological planning. Ultimately, these companies view themselves as part of a grander collaborative supporting private reforestation. 

Startups such as these demonstrate the push for individual activism needed in the climate change community. Through employing effective means of reforestation, small organizations contribute to a much larger effort to reduce carbon emissions through reforestation.


Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of  Impakter.com

About the Author /

Liz is an undergraduate senior at the Haas School Of Business and an Editorial Intern for ImpakterUP. As a member of Capital Investments at Berkeley, a student led collaborative fund and educational initiative, she was introduced to ESG and impact strategies. Now, Liz is looking to expand her understanding of the impakt space, particularly in technology startups and venture capital.

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