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.
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.
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 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