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

"The research, which comes with important caveats, was partly an effort to address the scientific uproar surrounding an earlier paper."

"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 published on Monday in the journal Nature.

The research, with input from more than 200 authors, 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 to those in a separate study published last year. 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, drought and pests as climate change intensifies?"

Catrin Einhorn reports for the New York Times November 13, 2023.


"Let Forests Grow Old To Store Huge Volume Of Carbon – Study" (Guardian)

Source: NYTimes, 11/14/2023