What happens if you cut down all of a city’s trees? – Stefan Al

Translator: Nawfal Aljabali Auditor: Shimaa Nabil This is a tale of two ancient cities The trees determined their fate. 3000 BC. M. The city of Warka was more densely populated than New York today. This busy metropolis had to keep expanding the irrigation system To meet the needs of a growing population. In Sri Lanka after 2,500 years, the city of Anuradhapura faced a similar problem. They were constantly multiplying too, And in the same footsteps as the city of Warka, their city relied on an accurate irrigation system. As Warka grew, its farmers began cutting down trees to make room for more crops. While the trees in Anuradhapura were sacred. Their city includes a branch of the Bodhi tree Under which the Buddha himself was said to have reached enlightenment. Religious sanctification slowed the felling of trees He even led the city to plant more trees in urban parks.

At first the Warka expansion was successful. But without the trees that filter their water sources, The irrigation system in Warka has become polluted. The evaporation of the water left mineral deposits This made the soil very salty for cultivation. On the contrary, the Anuradhapura irrigation system was designed to function In harmony with the surrounding jungle. Their city eventually grew to more than twice the population of Warka, Even today Anuradhapura still tends to a tree that was planted two thousand years ago. We might think that nature is not connected to our urban spaces. But trees have always been an essential part of successful cities. Trees act like natural sponges, absorbing rainwater Before you release it back into the atmosphere. Their root networks protect from mudslides While allowing the soil to retain water and purify toxins. Roots help prevent floods, While reducing the need for storm drainage and water treatment plants. Its porous leaves filter the air by trapping carbon and other pollutants. This makes them essential in the fight against climate change. Humanity has known the benefits of urban trees for centuries.

But trees aren't just important to city infrastructure; In fact, it plays a major role in the health of its citizens, too. In the 1870s, Manhattan had a few trees outside the island gardens. Without trees to provide shade, Buildings absorb up to nine times more solar radiation During the deadly summer heat waves. Besides the poor sanitation standards for that period, The sweltering heat made the city a breeding ground for bacteria like cholera. In modern Hong Kong, skyscrapers and underground infrastructure It made it difficult to grow trees. This contributes to dangerously poor air quality, This can cause bronchitis and reduced lung function. Trees affect our mental health, too. Research indicates that having green foliage increases attention span It reduces stress levels. It also showed hospital patients who had wall views They recover more slowly than those with tree landscapes. Fortunately, many cities are full of sights like these; This is not an accident. As early as the nineteenth century, City planners are beginning to realize the importance of trees. In 1733, Colonel James Oglethorpe planned the city of Savannah, Georgia To ensure that no neighborhood is more than a 2-minute walk from a park.

After World War II, Copenhagen directed all new developments along five arteries – Each of them is located between two parks. This design increased the resilience of the city Against pollution and natural disasters. And urban trees don't just benefit people. Portland Forest Park preserves the area's natural biodiversity. Which makes the city home to many local plants, And 112 species of birds and 62 species of mammals. No city is more tree-preserved than Singapore. Since 1967, the Singapore government has planted more than 1.2 million trees. Including trees 50 meters high which are called super trees. These structures supply themselves and adjacent buildings With solar energy and collected rainwater. Trees and plants currently cover more than 50% of Singapore's land area. This reduces the need for air conditioning Low-pollution transport is encouraged. By 2050, it is estimated that more than 65% of the world's population will live in cities. City planners can develop an environmentally friendly system, But the ball is in the court of the people who live in these urban jungles To make them homes for more than humans.

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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..

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