Saving cities up to $505 million a year, trees are the underdog we tend to dismiss too often. After planting a record-breaking 66 million trees in 12 hours, Indian volunteers have inspired even greater reforestation attempts. Conservation International is going big, attempting to restore 70,000 acres of the Amazon forest.
“If the world is to hit the 1.2°C or 2°C [degrees of warming] target that we all agreed to in Paris, then protecting tropical forests in particular has to be a big part of that,” [says] M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International.
Stopping the seemingly trivial issue of deforestation can cut up to 37% of carbon emissions. To rehabilitate the Amazon, the group is using the muvuca strategy. This tactic combines over 200 native forest species that have a 90% chance of successful germination.
“With muvuca, the initial outcome is 2,500 species per hectare. And after 10 years, you can reach 5,000 trees per hectare. It’s much more diverse, much more dense, and less expensive than traditional techniques.”
Even better, Conservation International is employing indigenous communities and family farmers. A few million trees have already been planted, and it seems an appetite for change is growing along with them.
Since carbon emissions and the resource greed epidemic caused the downfall of nature, many have scrambled for a quick solution. While Peru is keeping its unscathed plantations guarded, China is restoring millions of woodland hectares. Not too far behind is the City of Love, aiming to reforest 5.2 square miles of land. The anticipated lush of trees will be 5 times larger than Central Park.
For around a century, Pierrelaye-Bessancourt has been a literal wasteland. From 1896 to the 1990s, the city of Paris sprayed sewage residue across 865 acres of the fields to fertilize them.
The unofficial landfill will take 30 to 50 years to mature into a succulent plantation. In the meantime, it’ll host a swell of hiking trails, equestrian center, and conservation areas. However, the ambitious plan will inevitably face some setbacks.
As many as 1,500 trailers are squatting on the land, and getting full approval will require a lengthy series of community meetings.
Still, a great portion of the planet has seen urban transformations over the centuries. I’m sure some parts won’t mind kicking it old school.
As we all know, the joys of tree-planting exist beyond activist groups. Anyone can join in on the fun — from entire villages to drones. Even your not-so-usual suspects can be pretty eager to give back. Such is the case with 60,000 Chinese troops, all of whom are reforesting 84,000 square kilometers of land.
The armed police force has a specially designated forestry branch to patrol and exercise jurisdiction in forested areas such as the northeastern Greater Khingan mountain range – dubbed ‘China’s green lungs’ – in Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia provinces.
China’s current forest coverage lies at a measly 21%, which the People’s Liberation Army hopes to bump up to 23 by 2020. In this year alone, the Chinese government aims to overlay an ambitious 6.66 million hectares of land.
Heavily polluted Hebei province, which encircles Beijing, has pledged to raise its total forest coverage to 35% by the end of 2020, and the bulk of the troops pulled back from the frontlines will be dispatched there.
China is notorious for its dense amounts of smog and futile efforts to combat them with jars of air. Perhaps this route, along with other air purification methods, may be the best one to take.
The year is 2018 and urban jungles are taking over natural landscapes. As slabs of concrete take over grassy, scenic footpaths, a select few are taking action against mining and oil exploration. While some species are recovering all on their own, others are in need of a little backup. One such creature is the gopher tortoise, working hand-in-hand with Georgia businesses in the hopes of making an epic comeback.
Georgia businesses… [are] working with wildlife agencies, private foundations, environmental groups – and even the Department of Defense – on a project to save the gopher tortoise. They hope to protect enough animals that federal regulation won’t be necessary.
Among the tortoise freedom fighters is electrical company Georgia Power, whose plants house a number of burrowing critters. The group remains sensitive to gopher tortoise habitats during construction season, keeping power lines at bay. The group is also raising money to fund reforestation efforts.
“I actually am very optimistic that they are a species you can recover,” [said research scientist Tracey Tuberville]. “Everybody has the same goal. Even if it’s just to make sure they’re not listed, in the end that means effective conservation for tortoises.”
The gopher tortoise may be slow — but quick enough to show Georgia giants they mean business.
Succeeding its “wall of trees” stint, China is finally shifting its anti-climate change efforts into third gear. It may not compare to New Zealand’s tree-planting endeavors, but the ambitious eco-warrior is coming close. Hoping to up its environmental ante, the country is reforesting an area roughly the size of Ireland. That’s 6.6 million hectares!
“Companies, organisations and talent that specialise in greening work are all welcome to join in the country’s massive greening campaign,” [head of the State Forestry Administration Zhang Jianlong] said. “Cooperation between government and social capital will be put on the priority list.”
With 21.7 percent of China covered in forest, its environmental sector hopes to expand to 23 percent by 2020. Dubbed the world’s most polluted nation, China is hoping to alleviate the need for “clean air” jars with amore eco-conscious inclinations. Tree planting? It’s a good start.
This year the new forest areas will be built in the northeast Hebei province, Qinghai province in the Tibetan Plateau, and in the Hunshandake Desert in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in the north.
So far, the government has shelled out $61 billion on reforesting efforts. Considering trees can save a single city $500 million a year, the forbidden land may just break even.
Drone technology, among other things, has made reforestation more effective than it has ever been. An abundance of more systematic methods of tree-planting is inspiring many to participate in cutting carbon emissions. For New Zealand in particular, the idea is to go big or go home. Its ambitious government has sworn to plant 270,000 trees a day in order to reach its target of 1 billion in just a decade.
“It’s going to take commitment… we would expect and we would hope that [the Government] is going to try and enlist a private sector investor here because… trying to do it by themselves isn’t a clever idea.” [says Forest Owners Association CEO David Rhodes.]
As a country so heavily reliant on lush forestry, it’s no surprise that New Zealand has previously attempted projects of this scale. The 90s saw some success, with workers planting nearly 100,000 hectares of trees annually. Though 1 billion trees seems to be the government’s greatest obstacle, it’s working with the forest industry that is.
“It’s not just new planting, but sending the right signals to the current investors that it’s worth getting back into the game.”
With hundreds of jobs bound to become available, I can’t imagine seeing this project hit the back burner.