The Power of Trees: How Reforestation Can Combat Climate Change

Sponsoring reforestation is a proactive way for companies and individuals to fight climate change. Find out the pros and cons and how to get involved.

Ann Pizer | Posted in:Live

Climate change is such a big issue that it can be hard to wrap our heads around ways to contribute to the solution that go beyond our own households. Once you’ve reduced your plastic use, set aside your recycling, and opted for public transport, what more can you do?

What if there was something quite simple that many people could do from their own homes, from their own phones, even? What if, with the click of a mouse, you could contribute… trees?

Deforestation is a major contributor to our planet’s climate crisis because trees’ absorption of carbon dioxide is a critical part of the carbon cycle. In addition to greater regulation and enforcement, there is another way to help counter deforestation: reforestation. Planting more trees in areas where they can thrive begins to address the excess atmospheric carbon that influences climate change.

What Is Reforestation?

Reforestation is the planting of many trees purposefully and effectively. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. As the number of trees decreases due to deforestation, the amount of CO2 trapped in the atmosphere increases. Coupled with rising CO2 levels due to our over-reliance on fossil fuels, the loss of trees plays a huge part in the climate crisis. Deforestation also leads to species extinction through habitat destruction.

There are two major types of reforestation: urban and rural.

Urban reforestation is concerned with reintroducing trees into cities in a considered way that creates shade, wildlife habitats, rainfall catchments, and green spaces, improving the quality of life for the people and animals that live there.

Rural reforestation creates carbon sinks in areas that have been previously clear-cut or have the space and optimal climate for rapid growth. Rural reforestation must be done responsibly, with attention to the appropriate species, local water sources, and impact on nearby communities. When done correctly, this type of reforestation has the most potential to directly impact global CO2 levels.

The Benefits of Reforestation

1. Trees Naturally Process Carbon Dioxide

Human’s habit of burning fossil fuels for energy has created an excess of the greenhouse gas CO2. During photosynthesis, plants absorb CO2, a process known as carbon sequestration.

2. Trees Provide Habitats for Wildlife

All types of wildlife, from insects to large mammals, rely on trees, using them for food and shelter. Loss of habitat is a huge factor in the threat of extinction.

3. Trees Prevent Erosion and Flooding

Tree roots hold soil in place and absorb run-off while leaf canopies allow for better distribution and greater evaporation from rainfall. Deforestation leaves both urban and rural areas more vulnerable to flooding, especially as extreme climate events become more commonplace.

4. Planting Trees Create Jobs

Responsible reforestation projects can bring a huge boost to local economies as people are needed to plant and maintain these fledgling forests. 

The Challenges and Limitations of Reforestation

1. Location and Species Matter

Planting the right trees in the right places is crucial to effective reforestation. Introducing non-native species or disregarding the conditions that trees require to grow can be detrimental, so it’s important to do your research when investing in a reforestation project.

2. Greenwashing

When corporations publicize their financial support of reforestation while continuing to engage in other practices that are harmful to the environment, that’s greenwashing. Planting trees does not absolve businesses of their environmental responsibilities elsewhere.

3. Reforestation Alone is Not Enough

While planting more trees can help, it’s not enough on its own to solve our climate crisis. Preventing deforestation in the first place and drastic reductions in our reliance on fossil fuels are also necessary.

How to Get Involved in Reforestation Efforts

Liforme has chosen to plant our trees with Tree-Nation, an official partner of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). They are involved in over 70 reforestation projects on six continents that employ local workers and revitalise deforested areas all over the world. They fill the missing link between our intentions to be actively involved in doing something beneficial for the planet and our ability to physically do the thing.

Tree-Nation allows you to sit at your computer and set the chain of events in motion that will result in trees being planted where they are most needed. Then they keep you updated about the impact of your trees, so you feel connected, invested, and motivated to keep planting. 

Let’s Plant Some Trees

Being aware of the potential pitfalls of reforestation, Tree-Nation’s responsible approach makes us proud of our ongoing partnership. Planting trees is a proactive way for each of us to fight climate change. So let’s plant some trees together.

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