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Thu Mar 19, 2020, 10:56 AM

Upside, Downside - Separating The Bullshit From The Good On Tree-Planting Proposals

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Earlier this year, the one-trillion tree campaign was big news at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Salesforce founder Businessman Marc Benioff announced at the meeting that his company will “support and mobilize the conservation and restoration of 100 million trees over the next decade.” Back in Washington, D.C., President Trump and Republican lawmakers said they too support the international campaign – although Arkansas Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman came under fire for proposing a “Trillion Trees Act” that would pair a commitment to planting trees with a plan to increase logging on public lands. Numerous other Republican representatives are endorsing the trees effort.

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Temple raised a few more important points, some of which have been echoed elsewhere. Among them: trees take time to grow and reach maturity – decades and even centuries for redwoods and other behemoths that can store massive amounts of carbon. If you think you’re going to immediately offset your carbon footprint from flying across the country by planting a tree … think again. Another point Temple made: You really have to work the numbers to get a true sense of the challenge. For example, he wrote, the U.S. produced 5.8 billion gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019. To offset that much CO2 pollution, you’d have to plant a forest – and wait for it to fully mature – that is more than twice the size of Texas.

The one-trillion tree campaign raises still more questions for forest ecologists – one of them having to do with biodiversity. If the campaign results in what are essentially tree plantations lacking biodiversity and genetic variation, often referred to as monoculture, those artificial forests won’t get very far. “People are getting caught up in the wrong solution,” Forrest Fleischman of the University of Minnesota told The Verge in late January. “Instead of that guy from Salesforce saying, ‘I’m going to put money into planting a trillion trees,’ I’d like him to go and say, ‘I’m going to put my money into helping indigenous people in the Amazon defend their lands.’ That’s going to have a bigger impact.”

A campaign to plant “one trillion trees” sounds ambitious, it sounds daring, and it sounds exciting. And in many ways it could be all of those. But keep in mind that since 2015 and just in the Sierra Nevada – that sliver of mountain habitat that runs along the spine of California – nearly 150 million trees have died, victims of drought, disease, and invasion by beetles. Warmer winters have contributed to a population explosion of these destructive insects, and it’s a story being played out across the American West where forest fires are growing in frequency and intensity.

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https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/03/the-pros-and-cons-of-planting-trees-to-address-global-warming/

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Reply Upside, Downside - Separating The Bullshit From The Good On Tree-Planting Proposals (Original post)
hatrack Mar 19 OP
Zoonart Mar 19 #1

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Thu Mar 19, 2020, 11:05 AM

1. My husband has been saying these things for the last couple of months.

BTW his Horticulture Degree is from Temple.

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