One thing we have learnt this week – how many trees does it take to save the planet

Beech trees on St Cuthberts wayHow many trees does it take to save the planet?  This is a question I’ve been asking myself for a while as I have a developing interest in re-wilding.  I was going to try to find some data to do a rough calculation but fortunately a group of academics have beaten me to it.  The answer is its a lot of trees (a trillion) but a surprisingly small amount of land area (11%).  The land area is the equivalent to US and China combined.  Yes that’s a lot, but the researchers have not proposed any trees on agricultural land except where there are grazing animals.  They say trees can benefit such land use.  If you look at the maps then the tree cover looks sparce if everyone does a bit.  They have also not considered tree planting in urban areas where there is huge scope.   Another aspect of tree planting that could be considered is the use of trees for growing food, either directly or indirectly.  How much CO2 will it mop up?  A whopping 66% of what’s in the atmosphere that’s been put there by humans.  That’s a lot.

Will this happen.  I believe it will.  There is a growing realisation that trees are good for our health and wellbeing.  Planting trees is never going to be unpopular.  A couple of warnings though.  Trees need looking after and its no substitute for cutting emissions in other ways.  How many trees does it take to save the planet?  A lot, but its doable.  Lets get on with it.


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