Planting Trees to Tackle Climate Change
Planting trees may be the best way to capture carbon dioxide, new research has found.
According to the new paper, from the Crowther Lab and ETH Zurich, under the current climate, Earth could support an additional 1.6 billion hectares of tree cover. There are currently 0.9 billion hectares not being used by humans and therefore suitable for reforestation. This equates to an area the size of the US.
When fully grown, a forest this size could store two-thirds of the 300 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide released since the Industrial Revolution.
Prof. Thomas Crowther, co-author of the study and founder of the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich said:
'We all knew that restoring forests could play a part in tackling climate change, but we didn’t really know how big the impact would be.
'Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today. But we must act quickly, as new forests will take decades to mature and achieve their full potential as a source of natural carbon storage.'
Carbon Dioxide Could Help Restore Agricultural Land
Scientists have found a way to use carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to save water, restore degraded soils and boost crop yields.
Researchers from the University of Sheffield's Institute for Sustainable Food have worked with industry to develop pellets made from captured carbon dioxide and waste straw.
These pellets can be used like standard fertiliser to improve soil health. Each tonne of these pellets takes 6.5 tonnes less carbon dioxide than conventional fertiliser.
A new study found that the pellets enhanced water retention, increased soil microbes and significantly increased crop yield.
Dr Janice Lake, the lead author of the study, said: 'Faced with a climate emergency and a growing population, we urgently need innovative solutions to feed the world.
'As well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we need to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to limit temperature rises. These new pellets could turn damaging CO2into something positive – helping communities to cope with increasingly extreme droughts by allowing farmers to grow more food while using less water.
These initial results are really exciting, and we hope to be able to prove this new product’s potential with field tests in the near future.'