Garden Clippings for August 10, 2019
A month ago, scientists and researchers in Switzerland released findings of a study concluding that the single most effective tool to combat climate change was planting more trees. Billions more. If we would reforest .9 billion hectares of land, about the size of United States, we could reduce harmful atmospheric carbon dioxide by 25 %.
There’s been a lot of buzz about climate change recently. That’s a good thing. It seems we are finally realizing that if we want to save the earth for future generations, we need to change our way of life. I heard about the Switzerland study on CBC and read about via news feeds landing on my IPad.
Residents of Lambton County didn’t heed the advice of the scientists. I was hoping for a mad rush on trees but that didn’t happen. I suppose we are waiting for governments to step in to do the work for us. I was also hoping that considering these findings, our Provincial government would reverse this spring’s cuts to our annual reforestation endeavors. No such luck.
Planting new trees and dedicating more of the earth’s surface to reforestation sounds easy enough. Here in Canada we could easily plant more trees because we have land to spare. Ditto for large countries like Australia, USA, Russia, Brazil, Eastern Europe and China. We have the land and the temperate climate to nicely grow and accommodate more trees.
Africa is not in a good position to plant more trees. Huge areas of Africa are arid and cannot support tree growth. I heard this week that Ethiopia’s tree cover is all but gone because farmers continually look for new land to plant their crops. And because of climate change, temperatures in Africa are becoming more extreme, making their land less productive than it once was. Greenland, Iceland and vast areas near the north and south poles won’t support tree growth. That leaves Russia, Canada, USA and Australia in a position where they need to do far more than their fair share of reforestation.
We can hope that governments listen to the findings of the Swiss study and follow through with solid action. We in North America could follow the lead of Germany who in 2011 managed to get 50 countries to commit to planting 350 hectares of trees by 2030.
We would be wise to conduct further studies prior to planting trees. Native species are preferred because they are don’t tamper with the general circle of life for our areas. But we also need to act quickly because trees need time to grow and make an impact. Time is of the essence, and as the saying goes: “the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago. The second-best time is today.”
We can also hope that the next study will reveal what we already know: that in order to combat climate change, we need to keep what’s in the ground in the ground rather than pulling it up and burning it or turning it into plastics and other non renewable consumables.