Answer to the question “Can afforestation really counteract climate change?”
This issue went through the media in July 2019, when a scientific study was published calling for immediate, global, massive afforestation to counter climate change.
- ETH Zurich press release on the original publication: How trees could save the climate
- Original publication in the science magazine “Science”: The global tree restoration potential
- Column in “Geo” online on the topic: Comment: Why the study on afforestation and climate is both dangerous and useful
In fact, massive reforestation would be one of the measures that studies show has the greatest potential to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, and more forest would promote biodiversity and thus counteract species extinction.The. Binding of CO2 happens when the trees use photosynthesis to use CO2 to form sugar to grow.
However, there are some factors that prevent this reforelocation (see, for example, Spectrum of Science 06 or 07-2019)
- Afforestation is one of the most expensive measures, with 100-250 dollars per tonne of CO2
- According to our current economic model, forests are an economic resource that is made into money to the best of our ability.
In the tropics, the forest is cut down to attract precious woods to our terraces in order to gain farmland (which can only be used for a few years…) in order to attract pasture for meat production. In the subarctic regions, forest is cut down to extract pulp from the wood and a monoculture forest is grown here in order to extract wood from it for timber or wood pellets. The afforestation strategy represented a massive intrusion into this economic model and would provoke many opponents.
So there is a race against time
So the reforested land must be withdrawn from economic use for many decades.
In this respect, before such a project is approached, there must be a political and social consensus that we are depriving and protecting large areas of land from economic use by human beings.In my opinion, this is the biggest problem if you want to “simply” cover large areas of the earth with forest.