By Swati Patel
Forests have been known as depositories of natural resources. They support almost 80% of all land species. Very recently especially after the Paris Climate accord, forests have started being considered as a solution to global warming. Some in fact consider it as the easiest and effective solution to climate change. Gaps in research support to quantify the impacts, a better understanding is required to mitigate the climate impacts.
Before jumping into the discussions regarding forest as a climate solution, lets just appreciate Forests are crucial to the Earth’s survival, providing a lifeline of biodiversity, serving as the backbone of ecosystem functioning, and acting as valuable resources for economic growth.
Forests as Carbon Sink
Recently, forests have been considered as a source as well as sink of carbon emissions. Existing forests already remove about a third of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities. Deforestation and land degradation contributes to carbon emissions. Whereas forests, soil act as natural sink for carbon, also one of the key mentioned strategies for carbon removal.
Protecting and planting forests for conservation seems appropriate, however counting on them for removal of all remaining carbon seems like a risky bet. Challenges including age of existing forests, forest fires, lack of land for tree plantation, depleting cover of forests altogether.
Tree plantation is also a popular means of carbon credit, as they remove CO2 by turning it into solid carbon getting stored in their trunks or roots. Introduction of carbon credits has become a popular means that companies are going forward for their emissions.
Not just tree plantation but peatland restoration is also another form of natural emission avoidance and hence a carbon credit. These form of nature based climate solutions are key to protection of forests, preserving the biodiversity, protecting landscapes, and ensure the continuity of resources and life.
Forests are a vital component of our planet’s ecosystem, providing numerous benefits that are crucial to our survival. It is therefore, essential that we recognize the value of these precious ecosystems and take steps to protect and conserve them for generations to come.
By working together to safeguard our forests, we can ensure a healthier, more sustainable future for all.