Does Planting Trees to Fight Climate Change Work?

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Trees are one of the most important tools we have in the fight against climate change. Not only do they provide shade and shelter, but they also play a crucial role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

In this guide, we will explore the impact of forestry on carbon dioxide levels, what you can do to help support reforestation and other forestry projects, and where you can find out more. 

Planting trees to fight climate change: How does it work?

Planting trees is one of the most efficient and effective ways to fight climate change. 

Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, and by doing so help to reduce CO2 levels in our environment. 

In addition to this, trees also play a crucial role in regulating local climates, providing food and shelter for animals,  preventing soil erosion, and helping to regulate water supplies.

The impact of deforestation 

Forests cover 31% of the Earth’s land surface, but unfortunately, deforestation rates are still high – we lose an estimated 10 million hectares of forest every year

This amounts to roughly 40 football fields being cleared every minute. If current trends continue, it is predicted that there could be no rainforest left on Earth by the end of the century.

An economically viable solution to climate change 

The good news is that planting trees is one of the most affordable and efficient ways to combat climate change. 

In fact, every dollar invested in reforestation generates an average of $9 in economic benefits. 

What types of trees are best for combating climate change?

When planting trees, it’s important to choose the right type of tree for the environment you are planting it in.

Some trees are better at absorbing CO2 than others, so choosing the right variety is crucial if you want your tree to help fight climate change. 

Some of the best types of trees for this purpose include: 

Oak 

Oak trees have been shown to absorb more carbon dioxide than any other tree species. 

They are also long-lasting and provide excellent shelter for wildlife, making them an ideal choice if you want your tree to help fight climate change. However, they do require a lot of maintenance, so it’s important to keep this in mind when planting oak trees.

Spruce

Spruce trees are another great option for fighting climate change because they can live up to 350 years old – or longer!

This means that the carbon dioxide absorbed by these trees won’t be released back into our atmosphere anytime soon. These types of trees also grow very quickly, some reaching heights over 80 feet within just ten years after being planted.

Pines

Pine trees are another great choice for fighting climate change as they can store large amounts of carbon dioxide in their needles. 

A single pine tree can absorb up to 48 pounds of CO² each year. What’s more, pines grow quickly and easily in most climates, making them an excellent choice for reforestation projects.

Willow 

Willow trees are considered one of the best types of trees for fighting climate change because they grow very quickly and can live up to 100 years old. 

These trees are also great at absorbing carbon dioxide from the air; one willow tree is capable of removing up to 48 pounds per year. They also provide excellent shelter for wildlife, making them an ideal choice if you’re looking to plant a tree with multiple benefits.

Factors to consider when planting trees

While planting trees might seem simple enough at the outset, other questions may arise, such as:

  • Can we plant trees in areas where there is low rainfall? 
  • What happens when people cut down or burn forests? 
  • Is it better to save existing forests instead or to plant new ones? 

Typically, the answers to these types of questions will depend on the environment and/or type of tree in question. In general, it may be useful to consider the net effect on the environment that the removal or planting of trees will have, as well as the capability of the woodland to survive long term.  

How much land do we need?

In order for trees to absorb significant levels of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, they need to be planted on a large scale. 

One recent study found that for us to reach our Paris Agreement goals, we would need to plant billions of trees worldwide every year between now and 2050. 

This amounts to roughly 12% of the Earth’s land surface being devoted to forestry. Fortunately, there is already a lot of forest restoration taking place around the world.

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How to optimize tree planting to fight climate change?

There are a few things you can do to make sure your tree planting project is as effective as possible when it comes to fighting climate change. 

Plant in damaged areas 

First, try to plant trees in areas that have been damaged by deforestation or other forms of environmental destruction. 

Not only will this help to restore the natural environment, but the trees will also be better at absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

Choose fast-growing trees

Second, make sure you choose fast-growing varieties of trees whenever possible. This will ensure that your tree has a larger impact on reducing levels of carbon dioxide in the air. 

Raise awareness to encourage others

Finally, raise awareness about the importance of tree planting for combating climate change and encourage others to get involved in similar projects. 

The more people who participate in reforestation and other forestry projects, the more effective these initiatives will be at fighting climate change.

Reforestation is vital for the planet – Here’s how you can help

There are many ways that you can help fight climate change by planting trees or supporting reforestation projects. 

One way is through civic engagement – contact your local representatives and ask them what they’re doing about deforestation/carbon sequestration policies (or lack thereof). 

You could also participate in tree-planting events organized by NGOs like TreePeople, or volunteer at a nearby national park. If you want to support forestry projects globally without leaving home, then there are plenty of organizations that would be happy to accept donations.

If you’re interested in planting a tree yourself, then here are some tips: 

  • Choose native species
  • Make sure they get enough water (unless it’s drought-tolerant)
  • Don’t plant too close together – this will result in competition for light/water as well as overcrowding which increases susceptibility to disease. 
  • Don’t forget that trees need time to grow before they can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Reforestation is one of the most important things we can do to combat climate change. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most challenging tasks. Not only does it require a lot of time and resources, but it also takes place on a global scale. 

This is why each and every one of us needs to get involved in reforestation efforts. Here are some organizations that are working hard to restore our forests and protect our environment:  

The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has been working on reforestation projects around the world since 1985. They work with local communities to develop sustainable land-use practices and promote conservation education programs for children in schools across the Americas. 

TreePeople

TreePeople is another non-profit organization that focuses on environmental education and community engagement around urban forestry issues like air pollution reduction programs, tree planting initiatives, and green space conservation efforts. 

They also ran reforestation projects in developing countries such as Haiti, where they are restoring deforested areas that have been affected by natural disasters.

The World Wildlife Fund

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) works with communities in over 100 countries to protect ecosystems and improve livelihoods through reforestation programs, forest management initiatives, and sustainable agriculture practices. They also run several other conservation projects focused on endangered species like tigers or elephants.

The Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance (TRA)  works with governments around the world to protect ecosystems and improve livelihoods through reforestation programs. One of the main focuses of their work is to reduce deforestation rates in tropical rainforest countries like Costa Rica.

Aspire to have a positive environmental impact

Aspiration believes in the power of small, daily choices to make a big difference. 

With every swipe you take with your Aspiration Zero credit card, we plant trees to reduce your carbon footprint and give you cashback rewards when you reach carbon zero.

 If this sounds like something that would interest you, too – apply today!

 

Recommended Pages:
6 Reforestation Projects That Give Us Hope for the Planet
How to Maintain the Earth’s Environmental Integrity
Can Afforestation Fight Climate Change?

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