Tree Planting Is Critical for Sustainable Future but Can’t Fix Climate Change On Its Own

A man is shown at the Afrormosia growing project at the Compagnie Forestiere et de Transformation in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo. CIFOR/Axel Fassio

Around 40 kilometers south-west of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, native and exotic trees stand side by side on 8 hectares of the Suba Forest. Surrounded by tall junipers and idyllic mountains, this group of seed orchards is just one of many that serve as incubators for the country’s impressive landscape restoration efforts.

With a tiny carbon footprint by international comparison, this agriculture-dependent East African nation is leading the way in the fight against climate change by implementing a massive tree-planting campaign that is helping to reverse decades of deforestation, drought and land degradation. Ethiopia has pledged to restore 15 million hectares of forests and landscapes by 2030 and has turned local communities into land custodians in the process. Last year, the country highlighted its progress by planting a record 350 million trees in a single day.

Tree planting has become a ubiquitous feature of the environmental zeitgeist in a bid to slow the climate crisis by capturing carbon dioxide and restoring landscapes.

Research has shown that deforestation and land degradation account for $6.3 trillion in lost ecosystem services each year, yet every $1 invested in restoration generates $7–$30 in economic benefits. Read more…

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