#001 Forests & Forest Carbon
Climate Risks & Carbon Sinks Newsletter
By Ajay Goyal, Founder & CEO @ ForestSAT.space
Forests help sustain all life on Earth. They clean our water. Cleanse our air. Cool our planet. Store our carbon.
Trillions of animals , flora and fauna survive and thrive in forests.
Planting trees saves soil. Planting trees and nurturing forests saves the soul of earth.
Forests are more than a carbon sink and these realizations have led to numerous initiatives to plant trees. It is time to set aside the doom and gloom and celebrate people and communities planting trees. Humans lost their connection with forests due to urbanization, industrialization and migration. However awareness has been growing and from kindergarten to corporates, VCs to startups and tree planting is now a common social and activism around the world. Tribals and villagers in the remotest parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Africa, and Asia have shown the way.
Scientists and conservationists have launched and learned from great tree-planting campaigns like the Great Green Wall.
ForestSAT AS we are engaged in development of mechanisms that channel global financing direct to natives, communities and forests for smart and improved, management of forests, fuel removal and planting of trees.
Here we share resources and would like to hear from you about the impact makers on a local level. Please share stories of any individuals and NGOs who nurture land and forests by planting trees. We are especially keen to share stories of people who work with natives and tribals to preserve and perpetuate their knowledge of land and trees.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that humanity has now cleared one-half of all tropical forests. Forests now cover roughly 30 percent of all land area, but they are disappearing at a rate of 18.7 million acres per year (equal to 27 soccer fields per minute). Nature.org
Trees provide so many benefits to our everyday lives. They filter clean air, provide fresh drinking water, help curb climate change, and create homes for thousands of species of plants and animals.
Planting a billion trees can help save the Earth from climate change and biodiversity loss. When we restore and conserve critical forests, we remove carbon and support biodiversity. A billion is a big number, but we know we can do it together.
The tropical domain has the largest proportion of the world’s forests (45 percent), followed by the boreal, temperate and subtropical domains. More than half (54 percent) of the world’s forests is in only five countries – the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China. (Global Forest Watch )
- Forests currently cover 31% of the global land area. Between 2010 and 2020, global forest area fell by 1.2%, with declines concentrated in Africa and South America. However, within this global trend, and since 1990, Asia, Europe, and Oceania saw net increases in forest area: the forest area of this group of regions increased by 1.1% between 2010 and 2020. Further, according to the FRA 2020, “The rate of net forest loss decreased substantially over the period 1990–2020 due to a reduction in deforestation in some countries, plus increases in forest area in others through afforestation and the natural expansion of forests.
- the National Climate Assessment reports, the amount of carbon taken up by U.S. land is dominated by forests, which have annually absorbed 7% to 24% of fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the U.S. over the past two decades.
- Forest Guild notes, forests and forest products capture and store about 10 percent of all annual U.S. carbon emissions and could capture and store additional amounts by increasing excellent forestry practices.
- Forest management actions are often necessary to maintain or enhance the forest carbon sink, which offsets about 15 percent of total U.S. fossil fuel emissions annually.
- According to the US Forest Service, America’s forests sequester 866 million tons of carbon a year, which is roughly 16% of the US annual emissions (depending on the year).
- Fires are now causing an additional 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) of tree cover loss per year than they did in 2001, according to a newly released Global Forest Watch analysis that examined fires that burn all or most of a forest’s living overstory trees.
- The majority of all fire-caused tree cover loss in the past 20 years (nearly 70%) occurred in boreal regions. Although fires are naturally occurring there, they are now increasing at an annual rate of 3% and burning with greater frequency and severity and over larger areas than historically recorded.
How does restoring and protecting forests impact me and communities around the world?
36 Countries Are Gaining More Trees than They’re Losing
European countries including Ireland, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands had some of the largest increases. Continentally, Europe has more tree cover now than it did in 2000 — a net increase of 6 million hectares.
Asia also has a large proportion of the countries with net gain, such as Tajikistan and Kyrgystan in Central Asia, and Bangladesh, India and Pakistan in South Asia.
Net gains were sparser in Africa and the Americas. In South America, Uruguay is the only country with a net gain, while in Africa, gains were found in Sudan, South Sudan, Morocco and Algeria.
Even in countries with overall net losses, the data detected subnational hotspots of tree gain. For example, in the Tigray and Amhara states of northern Ethiopia, the data shows a net gain in tree cover despite losses in the southern portion of the country. Similarly, a pattern of gain is visible in Africa’s Sahel region, which may point to the positive effects of decades of grassroots regreening efforts to combat desertification.
The world’s largest reforestation effort in history is underway
The largest tropical reforestation effort in history aims to restore 73 million trees in the Brazilian Amazon by 2023.
The multimillion dollar, six-year project, led by Conservation International, spans 30,000 hectares of land—the equivalent of the size of 30,000 soccer fields, or nearly 70,000 acres.
The effort will help Brazil move towards its Paris agreement target of reforesting 12 million hectares of land by 2030.
AFR100 (the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative)
is a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030.
AFR100 is a partnership of 33 African governments and numerous technical and financial partners. Stakeholder engagement is a key principle of AFR100. Engaging all relevant stakeholders in the assessment of restoration opportunities and identification, testing and active upscaling of promising solutions is considered key for successful restoration. Among many targets the initiative contributes to domestic commitments, the Bonn Challenge, a global commitment to restore 150 million hectares of land around the world by 2020, the New York Declaration on Forests that extends the Bonn Challenge to 350 million hectares by 2030 and the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative (ARLI), an initiative to promote integrated landscape management.
Notable Reforestation Projects and Programs :
Conserving, restoring and growing 1 trillion trees by 2030
Plant trees while you search the web
Plant trees at Camp Altiplano, Spain
1.5 Million Volunteers Plant 66 Million Trees in 12 Hours
Great Green Wall: https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/great-green-wall
In recent years, northern Africa has seen the quality of arable land decline significantly due to climate change and poor land management. Uniting under the banner of the “Great Green Wall” initiative, national and regional leaders hope to reverse this trend. The bulk of the work on the ground was originally slated to be concentrated along a stretch of land from Djibouti, Djibouti, in the east to Dakar, Senegal, in the west—an expanse 15 kilometers (nine miles) wide and 7,775 kilometers (4,831 miles) long. The project has since expanded to include countries in both northern and western Africa.
List of world’s largest reforestation projects
The billion Tree Project https://thebilliontreesproject.org/ : A mission to plant One Billion trees https://www.nature.org plant a billion trees across the planet to slow the connected crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. unep.org
It is intended to convey the range of partners moved to action: from children to giant corporations, from women’s groups to technocrats, dancers to diplomats, farmers to national governments.
One Trillion trees: https://www.1t.org/
8 Billion Trees is a carbon offset company that runs large-scale planting operations in the Amazon Rainforest https://8billiontrees.com/
It counts new trees that comply with the criteria of the 3 Billion Trees Pledge, since the adoption of the EU biodiversity strategy in May 2020.
The Trillion Tree Campaign is a global initiative launched in 2019 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, with the goal of planting one trillion trees around the world by 2030. smithsonianmag.com
The Forest Service plans to tackle a reforestation backlog of 4.1 million acres
The 2 Billion Tree program supports organizations in planting more trees today for a better tomorrow
Tree Planting repports, projects and Organizations
Trees for wildlife – National Wildlife Federation
Tree Planting Organization – onetreeplanted
Plant-A-Tree Program – USDA
Ecology: ( https://ecologi.com/projects)
Eden Projects: ( https://www.edenprojects.org/)
Tree Sisters: (https://treesisters.org/)
World Land Trust: (https://www.worldlandtrust.org/appeals/plant-a-tree/)
Tree Plantation Organizations in India
Notable Tree Plantation Organizations and NGOs in India :
Green Yatra: Green Yatra
Project Green Hands: (https://www.projectgreenhands.org/ )
Sankalp Taru: (https://www.sankalptaru.org/)
Say Trees: SayTrees
Tree plantation Organisations and NGOs in Africa
Onetreeplanted: ( https://onetreeplanted.org/collections/africa)
Reforestaction- taza-morocco: ( https://www.reforestaction.com/en/taza-morocco)
Reforestaction- Fatck-senegal https://www.reforestaction.com/en/fatick-senegal
Tree plantation organisations andNGOs in South America
Onetreeplanted-(Latin-America): ( https://onetreeplanted.org/collections/latin-america)
World Tree Trust: (https://www.worldtreetrust.com/our-locations/south-america/)
Global Tree planting Organisations
- One Tree Planted (https://onetreeplanted.org)
- Trees for the Future (Trees for the Future)
- Trees, Water & People (https://treeswaterpeople.org/)
- International Tree Foundation (International Tree Foundation)
- Neighborhood Forest (https://www.neighborhoodforest.org/)
- Inga Foundation (https://ingahealth.org/)
- Woodland Trust (The Woodland Trust)
- Trees for Life (Trees for Life )
- Trees for Cities (https://treesforcities.org/ )
- Tree Aid (https://www.treeaid.org/)
- International Animal Rescue (International Animal Rescue)
Reforestation in China
China’s land restoration and afforestation projects provide fundamental support to the country’s poverty reduction targets of elevating 20 million people out of poverty, with the lives of 3 million people already improved through increased household income. Healthy and resilient forests are also part of people’s expectations for better living qualities according to China’s strategy. During the period of China’s 13th Five year plan, the Chinese forest tourism industry grew substantially with an annual average of 1.5 billion tourists visiting national forests.China’s active response to the 1t.org initiative encourages all stakeholders to promote solutions and activities to meet climate and nature targets. These include emission reduction policies for committed companies and individuals; guiding local governments to promote climate adaptation activities such as afforestation and ecological restoration, engaging scientific organizations, think-tanks, and civil societies to promote accountable and credible tools and evaluation frameworks; creating digital environments and crowd funding opportunities for innovation solutions; and adding afforestation and carbon storage incentives.
A forestry expert explained that in the last four decades China has developed systems for calculating and monitoring forestry carbon stores. The technology is now mature enough to measure and predict carbon storage within various forest ecosystems. This expertise means that: “Our ready-made approach could be applied elsewhere in the world,” said the expert.China is already promoting its expertise in countries signed up to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). At the Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing earlier this year, the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, called for Chinese participation in a drive to plant ten billion trees in the next five years. “There should be a joint project, an ambitious project, of planting trees so that we can mitigate the effects of climate on our coming generations.”
Addressing Challenges to Reforestation
- Climatic and Geographic Variation
- Forest Types
- Forest Production
- Pressures on forest resources
- Nursery Systems
- Reforestation system
Reforestation Challenges Around the World
- What are some of the cultural challenges?
- How do you teach people to grow trees that can survive in their native terrain?
- What challenges the plants after they leave the nursery?
- What are the challenges of establishing a nursery in a place like the Philippines?
- How can you help other cultures to succeed at reforestation?
- How do you teach people to think beyond the nursery?
The Challenges of Large Scale Compensation Tree Planting
1. Any tree-planting strategy should have more than 1 goal in mind.
2. Any tree planting strategy should ask which trees, where and when.
3. Any tree planting strategy should look at how to plant and cultivate the species being considered.
4. Any tree planting strategy needs to be clear on where to plant.
5. Last, but definitely not least, back to the concept of zero deforestation.
Some more Resources
What is Plant a Billion Trees? – nature
How and Where to Plant 60 Billion Trees in the US – WRI
Plant Trees with American Forests to celebrate a special occasion or to honour a loved one – American forest
Investing in trees: global companies are protecting and restoring forests – weforum
Meet 9 ecopreneurs with innovative solutions to conserve, restore and grow US forests – weforum
How companies are turning forest restoration commitments into action – weforum
Growing a Better Australia – A Billion Trees for Jobs and Growth – agriculture
Tree Planting By Businesses In France, Switzerland And The UK – forestsolutions
Southern Tree Planting Trends – Forisk
Trees for wildlife- NWF
Tree Planting – chicago.gov
Tree Facts – onetreeplanted
Nationalgeographic – nationalgeographic
Lessons from the rush to reforest
Tree-growing projects must match the right species with the right location, and put local communities at the front and centre of operations
When an international team of scientists announced in 2019 the potential of restoring forests to slow climate change, the world grabbed shovels. Tree-planting initiatives sprang up from Ethiopia to Nepal, spurred by corporations eager to sponsor them. Combined with projects already in the works, the planters included villagers in Indonesia, drones dropping mangrove saplings in Myanmar, and dogs scattering seeds in Chile. Their efforts have coalesced under a collective goal to plant one trillion trees by 2030.
The 1t.org initiative, launched in 2020 by the World Economic Forum, joins Trillion Trees and other plans in upping the ante from the 2006 Billion Tree campaign. Today’s reforestation fervour reflects growing global anxiety over our warming world. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, storms are becoming more extreme, and forest fires more frequent and hotter. The proffered solution, outlined in eloquent simplicity by the team of researchers in their study published in Science, is compelling. Planting 900 million hectares of forest on degraded land, around a trillion trees, has the potential to store an equivalent of 25% of the current atmospheric carbon pool – enough to help keep the world under the 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase called for in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The potential for global forest cover
The restoration of forested land at a global scale could help capture atmospheric carbon and mitigate climate change. Bastin et al. used direct measurements of forest cover to generate a model of forest restoration potential across the globe (see the Perspective by Chazdon and Brancalion). Their spatially explicit maps show how much additional tree cover could exist outside of existing forests and agricultural and urban land. Ecosystems could support an additional 0.9 billion hectares of continuous forest. This would represent a greater than 25% increase in forested area, including more than 200 gigatonnes of additional carbon at maturity.Such a change has the potential to store an equivalent of 25% of the current atmospheric carbon pool.
The restoration of trees remains among the most effective strategies for climate change mitigation. We mapped the global potential tree coverage to show that 4.4 billion hectares of canopy cover could exist under the current climate. Excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover, which could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in areas that would naturally support woodlands and forests. This highlights global tree restoration as one of the most effective carbon drawdown solutions to date. However, climate change will alter this potential tree coverage. We estimate that if we cannot deviate from the current trajectory, the global potential canopy cover may shrink by ~223 million hectares by 2050, with the vast majority of losses occurring in the tropics. Our results highlight the opportunity of climate change mitigation through global tree restoration but also the urgent need for action.
Problem with Reforestation projects:
The problem with most reforestation projects is best exemplified when looking at global pledges like the Bonn Challenge. Started in 2011 and hosted by the German Government, the initiative called for massive reforestation programmes to be implemented by countries, companies, and individuals. The Bonn Challenge aims to reforest an area of Earth roughly the size of India and says that doing so will sequester enough carbon to keep global temperatures below 1.5C by 2100.
A report by the journal Nature published in 2019 found that out of all the Bonn Challenge pledges, “ 45% of all commitments involve planting vast monocultures of trees as profitable enterprises.” 21% of pledges involved commitments to agroforestry, which has never been implemented at large or industrial scales. And nearly two-thirds of Bonn Challenge pledges were for agricultural projects disguised as tree planting schemes. Other groups like Nature Conservancy have been criticised for selling carbon credits for fake or overstated tree planting projects, as revealed in a bombshell report by Mark Kauzlarich for Bloomberg. Tree planting projects are not internationally regulated or vetted, so it is far too easy for harmful or untrue practices and claims to be branded as climate solutions.
Restoring ecosystems as a whole makes their overall ability to sequester carbon better. That is not to say that our goal when it comes to reforestation and ecosystem restoration should just be carbon sequestration. Instead, we should prioritise the health of the ecosystems that we restore so that they can harbour biodiversity and cope with severe events like droughts and floods. Some active reforestation projects have burned to the ground as a result of forest fires, rendering their efforts to sequester carbon useless. When trees burn, they release the carbon stored in their trunks back into the atmosphere.
Global Bodies & Organizations engaged in Planting Trees
US Chapter of 1t.org – 1t.org
A Non-Profit Organisation Focused On Global Reforestation – onetreeplanted
The Nature Conservancy – nature.org
Global Research Organization – WRI
World Economic Forum – weforum
United Nations Environment Programme – UNEP
The Bureau of Forestry – chicago
Society of American Foresters – forestprou
African Union Development Agency: AUDA-NEPAD
World Resources Institute: World Resources Institute
Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
AFR100 Secretariat: Afr100
The initiative builds on progress achieved through the TerrAfrica Partnership : TerrAfrica Partnership
Global Partnership for Forest Landscape Restoration : GPFLR
Global Forest Resources: https://www.fao.org/forest-resources-assessment/2020/en/
Challenges to the Reforestation Pipeline in the United States
Maintaining or increasing forest area: afforestation/reforestation
Bankable Nature Solutions from across the globe
Restoration Opportunities Atlas of India
How To Monitor Tree Restoration
The Latest on the World’s Forests
7 Policy Proposals to Restore US Trees: How Do They Compare?
Can We Restore 350 Million Hectares by 2030?
Reforestation: Challenges and Themes in Reforestation Research Reforesting Landscapes
Forest conservation, afforestation and reforestation in India: Implications for forest carbon stocks
Reforestation: Impact On Climate
Global reforestation and biodiversity conservation
Conclusion: Why Trees?
A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals, and plants. Depending on the kind of food and shelter they need, different forest animals require different types of habitat. Without trees, forest creatures would have nowhere to call home.
– Young, Open Forests:
These forests occur as a result of fires or logging. Shrubs, grasses, and young trees attract animals like black bears, the American goldfinch, and bluebirds in North America.
– Middle-Aged Forests:
In middle-aged forests, taller trees begin to outgrow weaker trees and vegetation. An open canopy allows for the growth of ground vegetation prefered by animals like salamanders, elk, and tree frogs.
– Older Forests:
With large trees, a complex canopy, and a highly developed understory of vegetation, old forests provide habitat for an array of animals, including bats, squirrels, and many birds.
Please do share reports, studies and project information on tree planting and reforestation.
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