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What if there were 1 trillion more trees? – Jean-François Bastin

Translator: rami durbas verified: omar idmassaoud With a height of about 84 meters, This is the largest known living tree on the planet. It's called General Sherman, These giant sequoias have sequestered approximately 1,400 tons of carbon in the atmosphere Over its estimated life of 2,500 years on Earth. Few trees can compete with this carbon effect. Today, however, humanity produces more than 1,400 tons of carbon every minute. To combat climate change, We need to sharply reduce fossil fuel emissions And drawing in the excess carbon dioxide to restore the balance of our atmosphere Of greenhouse gases.

But what can trees do to help this struggle? And how do you sequester carbon in the first place? Like all plants, trees consume atmospheric carbon Through a chemical reaction called photosynthesis. This process uses energy from sunlight To convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen And carbohydrates that store energy. Then the plants consume these carbohydrates in the opposite process It's called the breathing process, which turns it into energy It releases carbon back into the atmosphere. However, in trees, a large part of this carbon is not released. Instead, it's stocked in a new wood texture. During their lifetime, the trees act as carbon reservoirs And it keeps pulling in carbon as long as it grows. But when the tree dies and decays, Some of the carbon will be released back into the atmosphere. A large amount of carbon dioxide is stored in the soil.

Where it can survive for thousands of years. But eventually, that carbon will also leak back into the atmosphere. So if the trees will help combat a long-standing problem Like climate change, It needs to survive to sequester that carbon For as long as possible and at the same time to multiply quickly. Is there one type of tree that we can plant that meets these criteria? Some species are fast-growing, long-lived, and super insulated Can we spread it all over the world? Not to our knowledge? But if such trees exist, It will not be a good long-term solution. Forests are complex networks of living things. There is no single species that can thrive in every ecosystem. The trees that are most sustainable when planted are always native trees; Types have already played a role in their native environment. Initial research shows that ecosystems Those with a natural variety of trees have less competition Resource and better resistance to climate change. This means we can't just grow plants to pull carbon; We need to restore depleted ecosystems. There are many areas that have been cut short Or develop it and it is time to retrieve it.

In 2019, a study led by Crowther Zurich Laboratory It analyzed satellite images of tree cover located in the world. By combining these images with climate and soil data. By excluding areas essential for human use, They concluded that Earth could support About one billion hectares of additional forest. It is approximately 1.2 trillion trees. This stunned number surprised the scientific community, Which prompted more research. Scientists are now citing more conservatively but still noticeable. According to their revised estimates, these ecosystems can be restored Capture 100 to 200 billion tons of carbon, That's more than a sixth of human carbon emissions. More than half of the potential forest canopy As for the new restoration effort, it can only be found in 6 countries. The study can also provide an insight into current restoration projects.

Like the Bonn Challenge, It aims to restore 350 million hectares of forest by 2030. But here is where it gets complicated. Ecosystems are incredibly complex. It is unclear whether it would be better to restore them with human intervention. It could be the right thing to do in certain areas It is simply to leave her alone. Additionally, some researchers are concerned about forest restoration On this scale it may lead to unintended consequences. Such as the production of natural biochemicals At a pace that could actually accelerate climate change. Even if we manage to regain these areas, Future generations will need to protect it Of the natural and economic forces that previously depleted it. Collectively, these challenges weaken confidence In restoration projects around the world. And complexity in the process of rebuilding ecosystems It shows how important protecting our current forests is.

But we hope to recover some of these depleted areas It will give us the information and condemnation necessary to combat climate change On a larger scale. If we get it right, these modern trees may have time to grow Into carbon-bearing giants..

As found on YouTube

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What If We Planted a Trillion Trees

it's dawn it's dark and you don't know what kind of weather is waiting for you outside your tent it doesn't matter anyway in rain hail sleet snow blistering heat you're on the front lines shovel in hand wearing over 20 kilograms of gear battling against nature to save the environment on a good day you might plant 2,000 trees in a ten-hour shift but imagine if you had to do this every day for the next 570 thousand years this is what if and here's what would happen if we planted one trillion trees it's true tree planting is no picnic bears bugs blisters unpredictable terrain unpredictable weather up north it wouldn't be uncommon for a tree planter to pee on their own hands to keep them from freezing tree planting is undoubtedly one of the world's hardest jobs so why would anyone do it because if they didn't life would be much worse for everyone since 1900 births average temperature has risen by one degree that doesn't sound like much but just wait till you feel it if our planet becomes just 2 degrees hotter than it was in the 20th century heat waves flooding crop failure and animal extinction will be commonplace doing nothing about it would just be reckless demonstrating an extreme indifference not just a human life but to all life on Earth you might even call it second-degree murder some ideas that have been put forward for cooling the planet include a giant space umbrella to shield the earth from the Sun or a giant space mirror to reflect sun rays back into space meanwhile back on earth we've already got trees that absorb the harmful carbon emissions that warm our planet while also expelling oxygen so that we can breathe problem is we just don't have enough of them to do the job while the world is currently home to roughly 3 trillion trees we lose about 10 billion of them every year and as you might expect we've become more efficient at stripping our forests than we are at replanting them as a consequence 20% of the planet's greenhouse emissions are caused by deforestation compared to 14% by transportation if we planted a trillion trees we could offset a decade's worth of those emissions time that we desperately need but it will truly require an international effort to realize this goal if every human on earth planted just 150 trees we could meet our one trillion tree goal quite easily but that's just not very realistic and while the world's tree planters work long hard days to pick up the slack there still aren't enough of them to get the job done in time a study at Yale University concluded that if we continue our current rate of deforestation without planting more trees our planet will be completely treeless within 300 years already it's been calculated that the world has lost half of its trees since the last ice age before we revisit the space umbrella idea let's consider some of the more feasible options that are on the table tree planting drones for example can plant up to 100,000 trees a day the equivalent of about 50 veteran tree planters and while a lot of students take up tree planting as a lucrative summer job the more innovative ones have found other ways to cash in but whether we do it by drones or by robots it's time to bring out the big guns in this battle for our planet planting a trillion trees is still far ahead in our future do you know what our world would look like without them well that's a story for another what-if [Music]

As found on YouTube