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February 18, 2020

Myths and Truths About Global Reforestation

Accusation: Especially in the northern hemisphere, forests do not bring anything positive for the climate (Albedo Effect).

Every single tree can help to save our future. The Albedo Effect is only found in the Boreal Zone and north of it, for example Alaska. At Plant-for-the-Planet, we consciously committed ourselves to promote especially the reforestation in the Global South. There, the positive effects on the climate have been proven, the trees also grow significantly faster than in northern countries and therefore absorb more CO2 more quickly. In addition, the planting projects have a positive impact on the local communities, as they create numerous long-term jobs in the planting and care of the trees.

Accusation: Savannahs are to be planted, thus losing valuable grasslands.

In the 2019 Crowther Lab study, the researchers explicitly excluded grasslands when determining the potential for reforestation. There is no need to plant grasslands that are ecologically valuable. At Plant-for-the-Planet, our approach is that degraded forests should be reforested first and foremost. We ourselves are very successful in implementing this approach on our own reforestation area on the Yucatán Peninsula. On these areas, trees were unfortunately once cut down by investors; today, healthy forest is growing again and more trees are being planted every day. The local biodiversity benefits, animals settle again.

Accusations: It is better to protect forests than to plant new ones.

Both are necessary. The protection of forests is essential, not only for the climate, but also because species live here that could become extinct if people continue to clear forests on this scale, especially in tropical latitudes. Plant-for-the-Planet was founded as a children and youth initiative. The children asked themselves at the time: “What can we children do?”. Their answer: “Plant trees, because that is easy. We know that mankind has felled half of the world's trees since humans colonized the world – huge areas can be replanted. These forests would give us about 15 years more time to fight the climate crisis.”

Accusation: Planting trees alone will not avert the climate crisis.

That is correct. But trees give us more time to reduce our carbon emissions to zero. The children and young people of Plant-for-the-Planet talk about this again and again: we must now reduce and save CO2 emissions wherever possible. The last 30 years have shown how slowly people are making progress here. That is why the children insist that 1,000 billion trees must be planted at the same time, so that we gain more time – to avert the climate catastrophe. In any case, we will restore valuable forests in this way and provide people in the Global South with prospects and income through reforestation projects.


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