The levels of carbon dioxide have increased to such an extent that solely planting trees will do little to save us from global warming, a new study has found.
The study revealed that there is simply not enough room on Earth to plant the number of trees required to address the current levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
If we were to plant 1.7 billion acres of trees, we would be able to remove 3 billion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide every year, the Business Insider reported.
But that is just 10 per cent of our total carbon emissions of 40 billion tons per year.
Several studies have previously indicated trees to be the potential solution of global warming since they consume carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and release oxygen in return.
But planting as many trees as on 1.7 billion acres would do little to solve the problem.
Moreover, it won’t be an easy task since planting trees on this scale would require an area equivalent to the entire contiguous US.
Furthermore, it would create severe food security problem because it would consume half the land that is currently used for producing crops.
Though planting trees won’t solely provide the solution, it would still help a lot in reducing CO2 levels, the study authors concluded.
In another study, it came to light that young trees are better absorbers of carbon dioxide as compared to the established rainforests, and it is indeed relieving news.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that young forests could absorb up to 25 per cent more carbon dioxide than the older ones.
Study author Dr Tom Pugh, of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR), said the age of trees is one of the most important factors which decide how much carbon dioxide a forest can absorb so it must be incorporated while designing reforestation schemes.
‘It’s important to get a clear sense of where and why this carbon uptake is happening, because this helps us to make targeted and informed decisions about forest management,’ Dr Tom said.
‘The amount of CO2 that can be taken up by forests is a finite amount: ultimately reforestation programs will only be effective if we simultaneously work to reduce our emissions.’
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