Cómo reforestar el planeta para mitigar la crisis climática

Una de las fórmulas más contundente de mitigación de la crisis climática a nivel global consiste en la creación de anillos, cinturones y murallas verdes. Ya se están desarrollando a gran escala en los distintos continentes.

La estrategia se basa en plantaciones de miles de millones de árboles, entendidos como infraestructuras verdes. Aportan beneficios relacionados con el secuestro de carbono y la conservación de la biodiversidad, entre otros factores.

Los primeros cinturones verdes

Suele considerarse que el primer cinturón verde fue diseñado por Moisés hace más de 3 000 años en los ejidos de los alrededores de las doce ciudades levitas. Fue la respuesta a una de las mayores crisis climáticas de la historia, probable causa real de las conocidas como 10 plagas de Egipto.

Puede también considerarse cinturón verde el diseñado por Mahoma en el siglo VII alrededor de la emblemática ciudad de Medina, mediante la prohibición de talar árboles en una franja de 20 km.



Letting Forests Regrow Naturally Is a Simple yet Effective Way to Fight Climate Change

  • The potential rates of carbon capture from natural forest regrowth are far higher than previously estimated.
  • Letting forests regrow naturally has the potential to absorb up to 8.9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year through 2050.
  • This is the equivalent of 23% of global CO2 emissions and will be on top of the 30% currently absorbed by existing forests.

There’s increasing recognition of how nature can help tackle the climate crisis. From protecting standing forests to planting new trees, forests offer significant climate mitigation benefits. Now, new research shows that letting forests regrow on their own could be a secret weapon to fighting climate change.

Experts at WRI, The Nature Conservancy and other institutions mapped potential rates of carbon capture from “natural forest regrowth,” a restoration method distinct from active tree-planting, where trees are allowed to grow back on lands previously cleared for agriculture and other purposes.


The Secret Behind Costa Rica’s Remarkable Green Transformation

Aldo Sánchez surveys a field of lofty banana trees with cacao plants bursting with fruit nestled beneath them. “Two and a half years ago, this was pure pasture,” he says. Indeed, his neighbor’s field is just grass.

Four decades ago, a swath of land including Sánchez’s farm in Jabillos in central Costa Rica was deforested to plant coffee. It was later turned over to cattle, but ranching dried up when prices collapsed. Cacao — the raw material for chocolate — had not been planted since the late 1970s, when the monilia fungus destroyed 80 percent of the national crop.

“Even 10 kilometers [6 miles] away, people couldn’t believe we were planting cacao because the last people to do that were their grandparents,” Sánchez says.

His farm is a successful example of agroforestry — the sustainable combination of crops with trees — that is complementing Costa Rica’s remarkable reforestation in the past three decades.

Today, with exuberant tropical vegetation cloaking its countryside, it’s hard to imagine that the Central American nation of 5 million people could once have been any greener.



Land Restoration in Latin America Shows Big Potential for Climate Change Mitigation

Land restoration in Latin America and the Caribbean is picking up pace and scaling up projects will help the region meet its pledges under the Bonn Challenge, which aims to restore 350 million hectares of degraded and deforested land worldwide by 2030. A new study led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and Wageningen University supplies a first map of restoration projects in Latin America and shows their potential to mitigate climate change through restoring forests.

Researchers took stock of the location, goals and activities of 154 projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, starting a database to guide practitioners in scaling up restoration. They mapped projects under five initiatives working towards the Bonn Challenge goals – the 20×20 Initiative, the Global Environment Facility, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the Forest Investment Program (FIP) and independent local projects – in tandem with mapping the potential biomass increase that forest restoration could achieve across the region’s various ecosystems.


Cambio climático: ¿esta solución natural es la más efectiva para combatir el calentamiento global?

Un nuevo estudio asegura que existe un área del tamaño de Estados Unidos disponible para plantar árboles en todo el mundo, y que esto podría tener un impacto dramático en la lucha contra el cambio climático.

El estudio muestra que el espacio descrito para sembrar nuevos árboles es mucho mayor de lo que se pensaba anteriormente, y reduciría el dióxido de carbono (CO2) en la atmósfera en un 25%.

Según sus autores, se trata de la solución más efectiva para el cambio climático de que dispone el mundo en este momento.

Pero otros investigadores dicen que los resultados de la investigación son “demasiado buenos para ser verdad”.

La capacidad de los árboles para absorber el dióxido de carbono hace que sean un arma valiosa en la lucha contra el aumento de las temperaturas.

El Panel Intergubernamental sobre el Cambio Climático (IPCC, por sus siglas en inglés) dijo que si el mundo quisiera limitar el aumento a 1,5 °C para 2050, se necesitaría un millón de hectáreas adicionales de árboles.


The New Plan to Remove a Trillion Tons of Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere: Bury It

Last month, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere surpassed 415 parts per million, the highest in human history. Environmental experts say the world is increasingly on a path toward a climate crisis.

The most prominent efforts to prevent that crisis involve reducing carbon emissions. But another idea is also starting to gain traction — sucking all that carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it underground.

It sounds like an idea plucked from science fiction, but the reality is that trees and plants already do it, breathing carbon dioxide and then depositing it via roots and decay into the soil. That’s why consumers and companies often “offset” their carbon emissions by planting carbon-sucking trees elsewhere in the world.

But an upstart company, ­Boston-based Indigo AG, now wants to transform farming practices so that agriculture becomes quite the opposite of what it is today — a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.


Restoring Natural Forests is the Best Way to Remove Atmospheric Carbon

Keeping global warming below 1.5 °C to avoid dangerous climate change1requires the removal of vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as drastic cuts in emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that around 730 billion tonnes of CO2 (730 petagrams of CO2, or 199 petagrams of carbon, Pg C) must be taken out of the atmosphere by the end of this century2. That is equivalent to all the CO2 emitted by the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and China since the Industrial Revolution. No one knows how to capture so much CO2.

Forests must play a part. Locking up carbon in ecosystems is proven, safe and often affordable3. Increasing tree cover has other benefits, from protecting biodiversity to managing water and creating jobs.


Moving the Giants – An Inspiring Film

When David Milarch of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive came back to life, he embarked on a spiritual mission. Enjoy Moving the Giants, this award-winning short film about his mission.

Moving the Giants: An Urgent Plan to Save the Planet tells the story of arborist David Milarch, as he helps California coast redwoods migrate northward to survive climate changes that threaten their current habitat. His is one path to promote “treequestration,” a mass movement to use one of nature’s most prolific methods to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce the amount of future climate change.


Brazil’s Blueprint for Reforestation

Author: Jonathan Watts

The misty forests of Miguel Pereira, just two hours drive from Rio’s Copacabana beaches, show the scars of development. Over the past century, this part of the Atlantic forest has experienced three waves of development – logging, coffee plantations and cattle ranching – each of which ran down the environment a step further.

By 2008, there was almost nothing left to extract. The hills were stripped bare, the rivers dry and the soil degraded. Local people were left in poverty. Many moved to Rio to find work.

But now they are returning because Miguel Pereira is once again frontier territory and is being held up as a model in a new global campaign to revitalise 150 million hectares – six times the area of the UK – of degraded land around the planet by 2020. The success story at Miguel Pereira will also be food for thought for ministers and heads of state from around the globe attending the Rio+20 summit next week on sustainable development.

One aim of that meeting is to forge a global “green economy” from the ruins of the financial crisis and the Miguel Pereira experiment shows how environmental investments can also reduce poverty. It has done this through sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and a move away from GDP as a main measure of national wellbeing.

The Rio city government, water utility, corporate sponsors and environmental NGOs have started to pay for ecological services – clean air, fresh water, fertile soil and carbon sinks – that are provided by forest restoration.

Local landowners get an annual income of 60 Reals (around £19) per hectare and villagers are paid for planting saplings and maintaining the canopy at four sites in the region.

Three years in, the results are visually impressive. More than 950 hectares of formerly brown and barren hillsides are once again lush with the native species of the Atlantic forest, such as yellow flowering Araguaney and fast-growing Angico Artemisiana – some of which are almost 10 metres tall.

For conservationists, this is good news because it strengthens the Tinguá Bocaina corridor – one of the world’s great biodiversity hotspots. The city of Rio benefits from carbon sequestration and the maintenance of the Guandu watershed, which supplies 80% of the water to the metropolitan area and 30% of its energy.


India Set a Record by Planting 50 Million Trees in One Day

Author: Katie Herzog

Trees are a valuable tool in the fight against climate change. It’s the ultimate in carbon-capture technology — but all natural, and without the licensing fees.

On July 11th, volunteers in India took this old-school climate-fighting tool to a whole new level by planting a record number of trees in a single day, beating Pakistan’s previous record of planting 847,275 trees in 2013.

It took 800,000 volunteers to plant just under 50 million tree saplings along India’s roads, rail lines, and on public lands. This is all a part of India’s commitment to reforest 12 percent of its land — a commitment made at the Paris climate talks last year. The goal will increase the total amount of India’s forested areas to 29 percent of the country’s landmass, or 235 million acres.