Reforestation in these six countries could absorb 1/4 of CO2

August 2019—According to a new study, massive reforestation in six countries could take a big bite out of climate change. It’s not just in the rainforests. Most of the countries are in the band of boreal forests in the US, Canada and Russia.

The scientists from ETH-Zurich in Switzerland used a method called photo-interpretation to examine a global dataset of observations covering 78,000 forests. 

Using the mapping software of the Google Earth engine they were able to develop a predictive model to map the global potential for tree cover. 

They found that excluding existing trees, farmland and urban areas, the world could support an extra 0.9bn hectares (2.22bn acres) of tree cover. 

Once these trees matured they could pull down around 200 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, some two-thirds of extra carbon from human activities put into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.

This is a quarter of the overall amount of CO2 in the air.

The study is not without critics. We still need to reduce the greenhouse gases we’re putting into the atmosphere because eventually those trees will die. And it takes a while for them to get to a size where they are pulling down a lot of CO2.