Reforestation is critical to meeting Paris Climate Change accord targets, research says
Note: The following blog links to one of our Platform Tenets regarding supporting reforestation and ecological restoration.
Sarah Wesseler, a Brooklyn-based writer, recently reported that climate change experts accept that reducing greenhouse gas emissions – even doing so substantially – won’t be sufficient for limiting atmospheric warming to the 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degrees Fahrenheit) goal of the Paris Climate Agreement. And with carbon capture technologies years away from maturity and widespread commercialization, one option is to take advantage of proven nature-based systems for sequestering carbon.
“Natural climate solutions have really been a forgotten solution to climate change,” said Joe Fargione, the paper’s lead author and the head scientist for North America at The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation nonprofit. “Because the climate crisis is so urgent, we need to look at all the possible solutions, and that should include reforestation.
“For example, planting trees in cities is something that, if you were just looking at it from cost per ton of carbon stored, is relatively expensive. But that’s not why people do it; they do it because they like living near trees,” he continued. “The amenity value of forests and trees is really high, so I think there’s a lot of opportunity to build political momentum around having more trees.”
A survey of The Nature Conservancy’s reforestation work showed that much of it is associated with water quality co-benefits. For instance, planting trees after a forest fire helped prevent drinking water contamination in Santa Fe, N.M.
Susan Cook-Patton, a co-author of the Science Advances paper and Fargione’s colleague at The Nature Conservancy, has spent much of the past year working to help state-level decision makers decide which reforestation opportunities make the most sense in their unique circumstances.
Her current project aims to develop toolkits of different data layers that states can use to analyze potential reforestation sites, taking into account cultural and social variables in addition to ecological and financial considerations.
Read more here.