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Study Suggests Climate Change Could Be Combated By Planting Billions Of Trees

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Study Suggests Climate Change Could Be Combated By Planting Billions Of Trees

A new study suggests we could combat climate change by planting a forest roughly the same size as the US.

Researchers from the Crowther Lab in Switzerland say there is a lot more free space to plant trees than people previously thought and that by doing so we may be able to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. Sounds good to me.

The study suggests that planting a LOT more trees could be the best solution to climate change. Credit: PA
The study suggests that planting a LOT more trees could be the best solution to climate change. Credit: PA

According to the study's authors If humans were to add an extra 1 billion hectares of trees we could cut carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by a whopping 25 percent, with researchers saying it is the best and cheapest way to try and tackle the issue.

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Professor Tom Crowther, senior author of the study, said: "We all knew restoring forests could play a part in tackling climate change, but we had no scientific understanding of what impact this could make.

"Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today and it provides hard evidence to justify investment.

"However, it will take decades for new forests to mature and achieve this potential.

"It is vitally important that we protect the forests that exist today, pursue other climate solutions, and continue to phase out fossil fuels from our economies in order to avoid dangerous climate change."

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Researchers used mapping technology to discover areas where trees could be planted. Credit: PA
Researchers used mapping technology to discover areas where trees could be planted. Credit: PA

Scientists used high-tech mapping software working on Google Earth to show spots across the planet where more trees could be planted.

The study's models found that the majority of planting would need to be in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Russia and the US.

Russia would be tipped to take on the most new forest land, with 151 million hectares, while the US could hold 103 million hectares.

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Canada could potentially have 78.4 million hectares, with 58 million hectares in Aussie, 49.7 million hectares in Brazil, and 40.2 million hectares in China - if the maps were to be acted on.

The study's senior author said:
The study's senior author said:

Once these trees reached maturity, in around 50 to 100 years, it's claimed they could potentially pull in 205 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Professor Crowther added: "Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today and it provides hard evidence to justify investment.

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"If we act now, this could cut carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by up to 25 percent, to levels last seen almost a century ago."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, climate change, Interesting

Claire Reid
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