The World Daily
In order to meet environment goals, tree-planting efforts must triple

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | MAY 26th 2022 


According to a UK forestry industry body, the tree-planting efforts being set in motion in Northern Ireland will have to triple in order to meet the officially set-down targets. However, with tree-planting drives set to take place all around the globe on World Environment Day, on June 5, doubts have been sprouted by recent research exploring the dangers of such mass tree-planting.

The new research from the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) suggests that government and NGO-organised mass tree planting efforts may not be quite as effective at achieving the environmental benefits we so desire. 

Many of those, such as the upcoming tree-planting drives on June 5, are organised in order to help fight and counter the effects of climate change. However, in doing so, it may bring rise to other environmental problems, if done without the proper process and research.

“Afforestation is considered a silver bullet solution with the potential to address climate change and ecological degradation,” said policy analyst at the Centre for Policy Design at ATREE, Anuja Malhotra. “However, if afforestation is carried out without considering the local socio-ecological context, it can do more harm than good.”

Such details are crucial for consideration, especially with such countries as China recently pledging to plant and conserve at least 70 billion trees by the year 2030, despite the doubts of sceptics, who cite the country’s long history of wanton pollution.

“Planting trees does attract some species of birds and insects, but if the wrong species are planted in the wrong places, it has the potential to disrupt locally adapted species,” the study read. “This is especially true for open natural ecosystems such as savannas and deserts. For example, species such as the great Indian bustard, lesser florican, and many others tend to be negatively impacted by the loss of grassland habitats.”


Some experts look towards the reforestation efforts pledged by such countries as China as a distraction from their increasingly rising emissions. Tom Crowther, an environmental scientist at ETH Zurich, said that “Promoting nature at large scales can be fantastic if done in an ecologically responsible way, but it should not distract from efforts to decarbonize.”

Not that this ought to stop countries, such as Northern Ireland, from tripling their efforts of reaching their target climate goals – reaching net zero emissions is a priority that many countries are starting to look to with greater seriousness. 

Members of Confor (Confederation of Forest Industries) have started calling for more commercial, and environmental tree planting efforts – particularly of native-grown species that won’t disrupt the local habitats.

"We really need to triple what we're doing at the moment,” said Ross Jamieson, of RJ Woodland Services Ltd. “The ideal balance would be if we could maybe get about 75% commercial and 25% environmental, within every woodland. Obviously every site has differences, and we need to be site specific, but that would be an ideal balance, and that would allow us to have our environmental, our native woodland that will grow on and remain for a long time and then we can also have our commercial element which will be on a shorter rotation.”

By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2022 

Source: BBC, The Indian Times, Time