Forests the size of France regrown in two decades
Nearly 59m hectares of forests – an area larger than mainland France – have regrown worldwide since 2000, giving hope that reforestation can help tackle nature loss and climate change.
The finding comes from the Trillion Tree campaign, which said that the regrown forests could store 5.9bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
One success story is Brazil‘s Atlantic Forest, where 4.2m hectares have regrown in the past two decades. This was made possible through reforestation projects, responsible industry practices and migration trends towards cities.
“The data shows the enormous potential of natural habitats to recover when given the chance to do so,” said John Lotspeich, executive director of Trillion Trees.
The study involved examining more than 30 years’ worth of satellite imaging data, and surveying experts with on-the-ground knowledge.
In Mongolia, 1.2m hectares of forest have regenerated in 20 years, in part thanks to Trillion Trees partner WWF and government emphasis on protected areas. Other hotspots include central Africa and Canada‘s boreal forests.
Researchers warned that this success must not be taken for granted, as deforestation claims millions of hectares every year – far more than is regenerated.
“To realise the potential of forests as a climate solution, we need support for regeneration in climate delivery plans and must tackle the drivers of deforestation, which in the UK means strong domestic laws to prevent our food causing deforestation overseas,“ said William Baldwin-Cantello, WWF director of nature-based solutions.
Image credit: Shutterstock
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