How Far Can Reforestation Go?


Want to know the potential for reforesting the Earth? Here's what NASA researchers found:

Icon design. ©The Earth & I
  • Earth’s ecosystems could support another 900 million hectares (ha), or over 3.4 million square miles, of forests.

  • That would be a 25% increase from the forests we have today.

  • Planting over a half-trillion trees could capture about 205 gigatons of carbon (one gigaton = one billion metric tons = 1.1 billion tons)

  • That would cut atmospheric carbon by about 25%.

  • That’s enough to negate nearly half of all carbon emitted by humans since 1960.

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposed that 950 million ha (3.7 million square miles) of new forests could help limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2050.

  • Reforesting a region the size of the United States and Canada (1 billion to 2 billion ha or over 7 million square miles) could take from one to two thousand years to accomplish—if we plant a million ha per year at 50 to 100 trees per ha.

 

Source: NASA

Information in this article was derived from NASA’s Vital Signs of the Planet: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2927/examining-the-viability-of-planting-trees-to-help-mitigate-climate-change/


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