How Much Can Trees Fight Climate Change? Massively, but Not Alone, Study Finds.

By Catrin Einhorn
The New York Times
November 13, 2023
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Restoring global forests where they occur naturally could potentially capture an additional 226 gigatons of planet-warming carbon, equivalent to about a third of the amount that humans have released since the beginning of the Industrial Era, according to a new study in the journal Nature. The research leveraged vast troves of data collected by satellites and on the ground and was partly an effort to address the controversy surrounding an earlier paper. That study, in 2019, helped to spur the Trillion Trees movement but also caused a scientific uproar. The new conclusions were similar. …Mainly, the extra storage capacity would come from allowing existing forests to recover to maturity. But major caveats remain: If we protect all current forests, where will people get timber, rubber and palm oil? Would forests be able to store carbon quickly enough? And how much forest carbon would be lost to fire et al? [to access the full story a NY Times subscription is required].

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