Swiss study proves: afforestation is a solution
Since 2018 we have been actively doing something against climate change through reforestation - with every product. And with you. Scientists at ETH Zurich have now proven that reforestation does not just play a nice supporting role in the fight against greenhouse gases. They put their heads together and in the end were surprised themselves how effective reforestation can be as a measure against climate change.
We already told you why we plant trees in another blog article (it's worth reading). However, the authors’ calculations make it strikingly clear to us that state-sponsored afforestation on a large scale could be a decisive lever in order to still meet the 1.5 degree target of the Paris climate agreement.
Afforestation: almost a billion hectares of forest is possible
A team led by Jean-Francois Bastin from ETH Zurich has investigated what this could look like. You have devoted yourself to the question of how many trees one could currently plant on earth. To do this, they analyzed almost 80,000 forest areas using satellite images to check how much of the earth's surface is covered with forest and how much could still be planted. The result: 4.4 billion hectares of forest could cover our planet. That's 1.6 billion hectares more than we have now. However, due to population growth, we will soon need another 0.7 billion hectares for urban development and agriculture. That leaves 0.9 billion hectares of potential planting space, which is roughly the size of the entire United States. If this area were actually planted with trees, they could store 205 billion tons of CO2 - two-thirds of the amount that we humans have caused since the industrial revolution!
The responsibility lies primarily with the industrialized nations
During their investigations, the researchers also found that more than half of the area suitable for afforestation is in Russia, the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil and China. The responsibility therefore lies primarily in the hands of the large industrialized countries. Because, hold on tight: The researchers themselves were surprised by the results of the study and believe that afforestation is currently the best solution to slow down climate change! Mainly because it is cheap and easy to implement and does not require particularly sophisticated technology. So you could start right away! Jean-Francois Bastin is therefore demanding that governments now include afforestation in their national climate strategy.
It has to be quick: reforestation. Now!
So that the trees can exploit their natural potential as a natural CO2 store, rapid action is now required . Because it takes decades for the forests to grow and bind the necessary amount of CO2. The authors of the study also emphasize that global deforestation is likely to increase as a result of ongoing climate change. The tropics are particularly important. Deforestation must be stopped there first – especially in Indonesia and Brazil. But we can also take a look at our own nose in distant Europe, because meat consumption is a decisive factor here. On the areas that were once rainforest, soy is mainly cultivated for animal feed. In addition, the rainforest has a particularly positive influence on the climate because it ensures regional cooling through evaporation. Unfortunately, this is being destroyed more and more.
Afforestation may not be a silver bullet in the fight against climate change, but it is a big and important lever that we can - and should - use. Especially since trees not only have a positive impact on the climate, but also strengthen biodiversity, regional economies, food security and ecosystems.
To actively do something about climate change, we donate 3% of our sales to our long-term reforestation partner Eden Reforestation Projects. We see in the reforestation of our forests an absolutely sensible way. That is why our long-term goal is: 10 billion trees by 2030!
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