Reforestation consists of restoring degraded or deforested areas by planting trees and restoring forest ecosystems.
The benefits of reforestation
- Reforestation is considered the main strategy for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, forests have the capacity to absorb atmospheric carbon during photosynthesis, with different quantities of carbon captured and storage duration according to local conditions and plant species planted;
- Reforestation produces many positive impacts beyond simply planting trees and absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. Reforestation helps restore biodiversity and protect soil resources by recreating robust and functional ecosystems;
- Involving local communities is crucial to the success of reforestation. Sustainable management practices, active participation of people and consideration of indigenous knowledge are keys to the long-term success of reforestation projects.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020, globally forests absorb about 7 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, playing a key role in climate change mitigation. Reforestation is one of the so-called nature-based solutions (NBS) to fight the climate crisis.
Reforestation also contributes to adaptation and resilience against the already unfolding effects of climate change on water availability and soil. Forest ecosystems impact water quality and help prevent erosion, as shown by a study published in the journal Nature Sustainability in 2019 that demonstrated how reforestation helps mitigate water risks in critical areas.
By planning reforestation with species diversity and ecosystem structure in mind, the climatic and ecological benefits of reforestation can be maximised, counteracting the increasing global biodiversity loss. It is crucial that reforestation is designed and implemented in synergy with local communities, investing in their education so that they can subsist and thrive over time, resisting the pressures of land grabbing.
Reforestation projects fall into the category of initiatives that can generate carbon credits and thus fit into emission-offsetting strategies aimed at emission neutrality and zero net goals.
zeroCO2 and reforestation
At zeroCO2 we are involved in reforestation in different regions of the world, from Guatemala to Tanzania, and we always do this by putting people at the centre in order to simultaneously generate environmental and social impact.