Forest restoration and tree-planting – What impact for climate change mitigation?

The EU has adopted ambitious new targets to curb climate change, with a pledge to make them legally binding.

Under a new law agreed in 2021 between Member States and the European Parliament, the bloc will cut carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. “Our political commitment to becoming the first climate neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal one,” said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

Globally, forests are our lungs and life-support system, covering 30% of the Earth’s land area and hosting 80% of its biodiversity. Forests and other wooded land cover more than 40% of Europe, making it one of the most forest-rich regions in the world. Their ecosystem contributes to our health and well-being through water regulation, the provision of food, medicines and materials, soil stabilisation and erosion control, and air and water purification.

Planting billions of trees across the world is one of the cheapest ways of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis, according to many scientists. New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions from human activities that remain in the atmosphere today.

Although planting new trees alone cannot solve climate change, when combined with well-thought out restoration of existing forests and reducing emissions, tree planting can play a significant role.

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Forest restoration and tree-planting – What impact for climate change mitigation?

 

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