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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.

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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.

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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.

KEEP READING ON THE GUARDIAN

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.

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