‘Forest preservation can compensate CO2 from 1.5 billion cars’
According to a study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a better management of soil and forest combined with a better thought-out agriculture could reduce CO2 emissions by 11,3 billion tons per year by 2030. It is the equivalent to reducing the number of cars by 1.5 billion.
“Our current impact on the earth’s soil is responsible for a quarter of greenhouse gases and the way we will use the soil and manage our land in the future could help it decrease by 37%”, explains Mark Tercek, President of The Nature Conservancy NGO that took part it this study.
This work published in the PNAS constitutes the most complete evaluation yet about the way to reduce and stock CO2 in forests, farming lands and wetlands by using natural solutions. This natural way could reduce the CO2 emissions by 11,3 billion tons.
Forests and wetlands
Currently, plants and trees are absorbing 20% of the CO2 production, but by 2050 “we will have to increase food production and wood consumption because of population growth”, explains The Nature Conservancy.
Intensive livestock breeding, farming and lumbering produce huge amounts of CO2, methane and nitrogen oxide, all important greenhouse gases. The study points out that to compensate this production, the ecosystem provides numerous options to minimize these gases’ effect on climate.
Trees have biggest potential
It determined that trees offer the biggest potential in CO2 absorption while enhancing air and water quality and preserving the biodiversity.
The study shows that measures to increase the number and size of trees by reforestation, stopping deforestation and better forest management could take up to 7 billion tons of CO2 per year out of the atmosphere by 2030. The equivalent to 1.5 billion cars. Brazil, Indonesia, China, Russia and India’s forests could massively reduce CO2 this way.
42% of the reforestation depends on reducing grass for cattle. This ideal situation could be attained by enhancing meat production efficiency or by changing eating habits with reducing beef consumption. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), farming lands represent 11% of the earth’s soil and changes in terms of their exploitation could reduce greenhouse gases by 22%.