Paper Title: The Global Tree Restoration Potential
Restoring forests around the world is one of the most effective strategies for mitigating climate change and habitat loss. Researchers mapped out how much land that trees could cover globally under the current climate and published their results in Science. Not counting existing trees, agricultural areas, and urban areas, they found that there is space for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover on degraded land. This amount of forest could store between 133.2 and 276.2 gigatonnes of carbon which makes it a very efficient carbon capture solution. They will also provide habitats which may have positive effects on biodiversity. However, future climate change will alter the potential coverage. The researchers estimated that if the world cannot deviate from the current climate change trajectory, then global potential canopy cover could shrink by ~223 million hectares by 2050, with the vast majority of losses occurring in the tropics. The results highlight the opportunity of climate change mitigation through global reforestation but also the need for urgent action.
Authors: Jean-Francois Bastin, Yelena Finegold, Claude Garcia, Danilo Mollicone, Marcelo Rezende, Devin Routh, Constantin M. Zohner, Thomas W. Crowther
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