South Africa’s Potential to Expand Tree Cover as a Climate Mitigation Tool

outh Africa is counting on its tree cover to act as a protected carbon sink that will further drop emissions accelerating climate change.

The policy move is in line with international climate commitments and a 2018 warning from leading scientists that forests are a major requisite in the global fight against catastrophic climate change, thanks to their unparalleled capacity to absorb and store carbon.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that stopping deforestation and restoring damaged forests could provide up to 30% of the climate solution.

Boost to mitigation efforts  

South Africa’s land cover is dominated by open ecosystems in the form of shrublands (covering just less than 40% of the total land area), savanna woodlands (33%) and grasslands (27%).

Both indigenous and exotic forest plantations make up the remainder, with indigenous forests occupying less than 0.3% of South Africa’s land area, according to GeoTerraImage, while exotic forest plantations occupy about 1% of the overall area.


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.



Can We Restore 350 Million Hectares by 2030?

Author: Chris Reij and Robert Winterbottom | Published on: F

With growing awareness of the economic costs of land degradation, political leaders are adopting ambitious targets to restore degraded forests and agricultural land.  Building on the interest in forest landscape restoration generated by the Bonn Challenge, in 2014, countries adopted the New York Declaration on Forests to restore 350 million hectares (865 million acres) of degraded forests and agricultural land by 2030. That’s an area bigger than the size of India.

Several regional initiatives focused on galvanizing further political and financial support for implementing restoration at scale have emerged, like Initiative 20×20 to restore 20 million hectares (49 million acres) by 2020 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the African Forest Landscape Restoration initiative (AFR100) to restore 100 million hectares (254 million acres) of degraded forests in Africa by 2030.

The question now is: How can we restore this massive amount of degraded and deforested landscapes? Evidence shows that we can—as long as we learn from the places showing early successes. Tree planting is key, but it’s not enough.


Seeing the Pasture for the Trees

Published on: April 19, 2017

RONKS, Pa. — Shaded pastures are among the more challenging conditions faced by anyone trying to establish a productive pasture. This scenario varies but often involves a grazier who wants to set up a very intentional form of silvopasture, managing both trees and forage to balance the productivity of both.

To be clear, there is no forage crop you can grow well under full leaf canopy. Plants need some sunlight to perform photosynthesis, manufacture sugars, and grow.  Although the ideal balance of needed conditions differs for each plant, there are also a set of basic requirements for any plant to thrive.

Depending on the available sunlight, a shady area can result in a thinner stand. The less robust growth will also be less resilient to outside impacts like traffic or overgrazing. Shading reduces height of the forage species that have a naturally upright growth habit, and also leads to less tiller production. However, in shade tolerant species, leaf area and both shoot-to-root and leaf-to-stem ratios may be increased.  With less active cell division and growth, sugars are also apt to concentrate in the plant.


Morocco Plants Millions of Trees Along Roads to Fight Climate Change

Author: Justin Catanoso | Published on: November 17, 2016

MARRAKESH, Morocco – On the new highway that runs southeast from Marrakesh and ascends toward the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, the roadside shows evidence of climate-change progress. Recently planted trees at least ten feet tall with trunks some four inches in diameter stand in short intervals for miles and miles.

Morocco lost about 5 percent of its remaining dense tree cover between 2001 and 2014, according to data from the University of Maryland.  But the data, visualized on the forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch, also show large areas of tree cover gain during the same period, indicating reforestation and afforestation — the planting of trees where they didn’t originally occur.

In hosting the 22nd United Nations Climate Conference, representatives from the Moroccan government are eager speak out and demonstrate that they are serious about tackling climate change and providing a model for other African nations to follow.


The Secret Life of Trees: The Astonishing Science of What Trees Feel and How They Communicate

Author: Maria Popova

“A tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it.”

Trees dominate the world’s the oldest living organisms. Since the dawn of our species, they have been our silent companions, permeating our most enduring tales and never ceasing to inspire fantastical cosmogonies. Hermann Hesse called them “the most penetrating of preachers.” A forgotten seventeenth-century English gardener wrote of how they “speak to the mind, and tell us many things, and teach us many good lessons.”

But trees might be among our lushest metaphors and sensemaking frameworks for knowledge precisely because the richness of what they say is more than metaphorical — they speak a sophisticated silent language, communicating complex information via smell, taste, and electrical impulses. This fascinating secret world of signals is what German forester Peter Wohlleben explores in The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate (public library).

Wohlleben chronicles what his own experience of managing a forest in the Eifel mountains in Germany has taught him about the astonishing language of trees and how trailblazing arboreal research from scientists around the world reveals “the role forests play in making our world the kind of place where we want to live.” As we’re only just beginning to understand nonhuman consciousnesses, what emerges from Wohlleben’s revelatory reframing of our oldest companions is an invitation to see anew what we have spent eons taking for granted and, in this act of seeing, to care more deeply about these remarkable beings that make life on this planet we call home not only infinitely more pleasurable, but possible at all.


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.