How does planting trees help climate change?

Uchechukwu Kyrian Ufoh

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The simple answer is: Trees absorb carbon dioxide, if you plant more trees, you help absorb more carbon dioxide


Since the industrial revolution, the earth’s natural resources have been consumed at an alarming rate. Logging, farming, and cattle grazing have destroyed many of the world’s forests and caused soil erosion. This destruction of forests and increased production of CO2 has contributed to the climate change we face today, with man’s carbon footprint ever-increasing at an alarming rate.

The good news is that there are many programs and resources out there to help offset your carbon footprint. One avenue is to plant a tree. Trees have long been used as an essential part of ancient civilizations. Dating back to Mesopotamia, trees have been planted throughout countries for irrigation and aesthetic purposes. Today we use tree planting to maintain a healthier environment by restoring the balance of our atmosphere and, hopefully, beat climate change.

But How does tree planting help solve the climate change crises

One of the significant contributors to climate change is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat naturally. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. By planting trees, you can help counteract and decrease the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere contributing to climate change.

Reversing the effects of climate change by planting trees is only one of the many benefits of planting trees. They improve air quality and soil quality and help control water runoff, erosion, and flooding.

If the world can plant enough trees to offset the current amount of carbon emissions completely, it would be nothing short of a miracle. Because trees have such a slow growth rate, it will take many years to replace the present amount of trees we have destroyed. However, planting more trees is better than doing nothing in this regard.

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People planting a tree for climate change

How many trees do we need to plant to stop climate change?

This number is tough to tell. But according to scientists, our ecosystem can support more than 0.9 billion hectares of continuous forest. This will result in more than a 25% increase in our forest area and store up to 200 gigatons of carbon.

The potential for global forest cover

The restoration of forested land on a global scale could help capture atmospheric carbon and mitigate climate change. Bastin et al. used direct measurements of forest cover to generate a model of forest restoration potential across the globe (see the Perspective by Chazdon and Brancalion).

Their spatially explicit maps show how much additional tree cover could exist outside of existing forests and agricultural and urban land. Ecosystems could support an additional 0.9 billion hectares of continuous forest. This would represent a greater than 25% increase in the forested area, including more than 200 gigatonnes of additional carbon at maturity. Such a change has the potential to store an equivalent of 25% of the current atmospheric carbon pool.

Science, this issue p. 76; see also p. 24

To put this into perspective, if we can currently plant up all possible spaces allocated to tree planting on the model, we could reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere by 25%.
But this is not a small fit at all, and this means we have to stop all land grabbing and have governments follow the scientific model used in the study.

This also means we all territorial claims like that of Russia or that of the United States, and all those people who claim that they aren’t citizens of the country they reside in and therefore do not recognize any government will come second to the model.

I wouldn’t hold my breath on this, though.

So what can you do as an individual?

We understand that not everyone can plant a tree. Not everyone knows how to plant a tree, but most importantly, not everyone has space to plant a tree. And still, others can see planting a tree as something that is not fun and unnecessary.

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What you can do to fight climate change is support those who are planting trees already. There are many organizations out there that are championing tree planting causes. Organizations like Click a Tree plant any number of trees you want through monetary support. The Bonn Challenge is a global challenge to plant trees across the world. You can contact them and find out how to help.

Do you have a friend that lives somewhere where they can plant a tree, visit them and plant a tree together? Don’t just plant one; plant as many trees as you can. We at ClimateRealTalk want to start a tree planting challenge in Nigeria in schools, where we challenge students to plant a tree and nurture them till they graduate.

When this program starts, we will need your support.

Another thing you can do is to become a tree activist. Join groups that challenge the unlawful felling of trees in your area. Contact legal organizations that protect and champion the rights of trees.

Create awareness on social media about the importance of trees and why we need to preserve the ones we have and plant more. It is important that we educate more people on the importance of trees and why we need to plant more.

Together, we will be able to stop climate change. I’ll see you at the tree planting party.

What kind of trees should I plant for climate change?

No tree is the best for climate change. The thing with trees is that they come in all different kinds of shapes and sizes. How big a tree you should choose depends on your planting area, but generally speaking, go with what fit.

If you are planting a tree close to your house, make sure it’s not a specie with roots that can destroy your home’s foundation. If you are unsure which one to plant, you might be better off clicking a tree or calling a professional to avoid unforeseen circumstances.

You should also think about the kind of tree native to your region. That way, you can be sure it will thrive and mature to its full potential.

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I hope you have enjoyed this article. I know it’s not a very popular topic, but someone has to talk about it, and people have to work on it.

Planting trees is just not enough, though. We should also protect the rights of trees wherever they exist, plant more trees where possible, and stop the process of land grabbing in our communities. It is also essential to change our mindset as a people, that nature doesn’t belong to us, but we belong to nature (if u get what I mean).

Please suggest more things that we should do as a people to stop climate change. The world needs all the help it can get. Let’s get it together and make the world better by planting trees.


Uchechukwu Kyrian Ufoh

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