Reforesting the Planet Could Cut Humanity’s Carbon Footprint by Two Thirds

Climate change is devastating the planet, but analysis published on Thursday, July 5 in Science shows that reforesting the planet could cut carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to levels not seen in a hundred years. 

Humanity has put out around 300 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. “The global tree restoration potential” study suggests reforesting the planet alone could reduce humanity’s carbon footprint by two-thirds and reduce carbon in the atmosphere by 25 percent.

Researchers believe reforestation is the best solution for dealing with atmospheric carbon. In conjunction with other potential technologies, a massive reforestation effort could mitigate humanity’s entire carbon footprint.

The analysis showed the planet can support more than 10.8 billion acres (4.4 billion hectares) of forest under the current climate. According to the study. “ Excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover,” or 2.22 billion acres of land available for reforestation.

For the study, the researchers used Google Earth to measure tree cover globally and then built models predicting the planet’s potential forest capacity.



Photo: “deciduous forest_01” by mini malist is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0