Recent research has concluded that trees have the greatest potential to reduce CO2 emissions. With scientists now reporting CO2 levels at the highest in 800,000 years, we need all the help we can get in taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
The study published on in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that Reforestation and other natural climate solutions could provide 37% of the CO2 emissions reductions needed to hold global warming below 2˚C as set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.
This would part of an overall plan to provide natural climate solutions. It may also increase human health and well-being by helping provide cleaner air and water, change agricultural practices to reduce the amount of land devoted to livestock and maintain biodiversity.
It is estimated that about 80% of world biodiversity is provided through forests. They provide genetic material important for crop and animal improvement and are home to many pollinator species.
Releasing vast areas of our planet to forests, avoiding the loss of existing forests and managing them more effectively could remove seven billion tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030.
There are also huge advantages in re-thinking how we manage the agricultural use of land to increase food and timber production in a sustainable way.
The researchers also found that the top five countries where forests may reduce emissions the most are Brazil, Indonesia, China, Russia, and India. These are the parts of the world where environmental pressure and population growth are the most pressing.
To read more about the implications indicated by this research go to the website for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).