Over the years, planting forests as a way to fight climate change and undo the damage caused by deforestation has become extremely popular. Many countries around the world have come together and agreed replanting forests is something that can be achieved.
However, a new report indicates this might not be a good thing.
The report takes a close look at the replanting of Chilean forests and the effect they have had. While it is true that the total amount of forest has increased in Chile, the amount of native forests has continued to decrease.
Instead of planting native trees and protecting the unique life and biodiversity of the region, more profitable trees were used. These are trees that produce certain fruits or ones that raw wood sells for more.
As a result, the carbon absorbed from this new forest is far less than expected and has not made up for the initial and continual loss of native forests.
Effects of Replanting Forests Overestimated
A second report found that reforestation in China actually lowered the amount of carbon soil could absorb. Overall, decreasing the carbon sink potential of forests.
To put it simply, researchers found that estimates are far too optimistic because they do not consider the soil. Just like trees soil absorbs carbon, when you disturb that soil to plant trees, it is a net negative in some regions. In this case, they researched China.
There are still positive effects of reforestation, but they are not quite as good as once thought.
Reforestation Can Work
The big takeaway from these reports is that the way the world currently goes about reforestation is wrong. Not that the concept of reforestation is bad, but how everyone is doing so.
We need to plant native trees in their respective region for it to work. At the same time, the loss from the soil must also be considered. This will provide a more effective solution.