It’s simple, yet it yields amazing results. Tree planting might be one of the best and most encouraging climate solutions – it has wide support from political leaders, environmental scientists, and corporations, all of whom have pushed for broad reforestation projects to achieve climate objectives.
Reforestation projects require billions of tree seedlings. To be considered successful, the established forests have to trap and store carbon dioxide at volumes that slow the current rate of global warming enough to achieve – or surpass – the 3.6° Fahrenheit target established by the Paris Climate Agreement. Unfortunately, we’re not on the right track.
A research article published in the Frontiers in Forests and Global Change journal reports that the number of tree seedlings being grown for the purpose of wide-spread reforestation isn’t sufficient to meet the targets. According to the paper, seedling suppliers must boost their production to more than double what is currently being grown to meet the three billion seedlings per year supply necessary to reach our climate goals.
To reach the needed production levels, tree nurseries throughout the United States will have to have a larger volume of seeds — and quickly. Current seedling production stands at approximately 1.3 billion annually. The numbers come from reports from 181 private and government-funded nurseries and forestry services, which account for roughly half of the total U.S. seedling producers.
The 1.3 billion seedlings are used as a direct replacement for the trees lost through deforestation due to lumber production, as well as trees destroyed by wildfires. However, in order for the climate to benefit from tree planting and trigger the necessary level of carbon capture, forests in the United States must be expanded by 64 million acres, requiring an additional 1.7 billion tree seedlings to be grown and planted, an increase of over 130 percent.
Accelerating production to the necessary extent will come at a cost of billions of dollars. In addition to sourcing the collections of the appropriate seeds, they must be properly cultivated, requiring extensive training efforts. Moreover, the infrastructure necessary to plant an additional 1.7 billion trees and the continual scrutiny and observation necessary to ensure the newly planted trees do not succumb to fires, disease, drought, and pests (which are substantially more threatening due to the climate crisis) places additional burdens on both public and private sectors.
We all have to markedly increase our contribution to tree planting initiatives to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. Forest Founders is dedicated to supporting diverse reforestation projects throughout the United States and abroad, helping organizations launch the tree planting projects needed to reach our environmental goals.
To learn how you can help fight climate change by helping reforestation projects, please visit our information page. To join the fight against climate change by planting trees, please register on our signup page.