Forest area bigger than Canada can be restored to our planet

Only one fifth of the world’s forests remain but an area bigger than Canada could be restored without harming food production, a global alliance dedicated to restoring forests has announced…

“This is a first go at identifying the total scale of this opportunity. The next stage is to work at a country level to identify what we would restore in the real world,” Tim Rollinson, GPFLR chairman and director general of the British Forestry Commission told Reuters in an interview.

Marginal agricultural land, where productivity was low, had the most potential for restoration, the study found. “There are opportunities in almost every continent. The most potential is in Africa; there are substantial areas in China and India, as well as parts of Brazil…”

World leaders are meeting at a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen in less than two weeks and there are fears that deforestation and agriculture issues will be at the bottom of a long list of responses to climate change to be discussed…

By 2030, the restoration of degraded forest land could make a 70 gigatonne cut in greenhouse gases — the same as from avoided deforestation — or even twice that amount, based on preliminary estimates in the report…

Forests once covered more than 50 percent of the world’s land area. That has declined to less than 30 percent due to unsustainable logging and conversion to other land uses such as grazing, industry, towns and cities, the GPFLR report said.

The profit from diverse deciduous and coniferous forests can make such a project sustainable. Most folks are ignorant of the agricultural history of, say, New England. Two centuries ago, almost denuded of trees, the region had more sheep than people. That agribusiness moved west to Texas and Colorado and forests returned, mostly through hard work from the Civilian Conservation Corps and also natural reseeding.

Significant industrial plantations – unfortunately monocultural – were also developed and add to the mix of forest which now covers a significant portion of rural, northern New England. Regardless of motive, the forests are back.

3 thoughts on “Forest area bigger than Canada can be restored to our planet

    • Cinaedh says:

      You’re right. All the clear-cuts up here are all still clear-cut.

      For long stretches, you could randomly fire artillery from the highway and never hit a tree.

      Corporations just don’t think far enough ahead to fulfil their legal obligations to plant trees and I guess it’s cheaper to pay the lawyers and the politicians.

      Since it takes more than three months to grow a tree to a commercially useful size, where’s the corporate, financial justification in replacing the ones you just took?

  1. Mr. Fusion says:

    It might not be much, but I let my grass grow a little longer than most. That saves on gas and soaks just that much more CO2. That, my friends, is a twofer.

    So what if the wife disagrees and thinks it looks rough.

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