Ever since humans discovered the multiple ways that trees can be utilized to aid the various aspects of our lives, we have been collectively chopping down vast areas of forest and woodland around the world to supply rising demands. The 1450 invention of the printing press began this rapid expansion of the need for paper, making the formation of texts much quicker and easier, and leading to the utilization of tree-based products in across different industries.
Once America was colonized by the British in the 1600s, it was quickly identified that the area was rich in dense forests that could be used for the production of different items. This led to particular areas of the country – such as Aberdeen in Seattle – developing industries that predominantly focused on or relied on timber. Since then, vast swathes of forest and woodland have been felled.
But, after a while, scientists demonstrated that trees themselves form a vital part of our eco-system, absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and producing oxygen, while also being home to numerous species of animals – many of which are now in a rapid state of decline due to our penchant for cutting down these forests and woodland areas. It was quickly established that our persistent deforestation has been a key contributor to climate change, perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing humanity today.
In order to counteract – and attempt to reverse – the effects of climate change, reforestation has been utilized as a key method of harnessing and slowing down the damage we are collectively causing our planet.
What is Reforestation?
Simply put, reforestation in the US is the planting of trees across different of the country, in a bid to reverse or halt the damaging process of climate change. New evidence, provided by scientists, has confirmed a long-held belief that the strategic planting of trees over time – replacing those areas of woodland that are felled – can help to filter out the gradually increasing volume of carbon dioxide in our air, which is the primary factor in driving climate change.
Clearing Space to Replenish Elsewhere?
Some believe that the notion of reforestation signals that the already-existing areas of forest and woodland are up for grabs by the timber industry; this is not, however, the case. While reforestation is the consistent planting of trees across varieties of land space, it is in no way encouraging the destruction of existing living woodland.
On the contrary, the aim of reforestation is to both replenish trees in the US, as well as advocate for the protection of existing woodland by highlighting and promoting the benefits of trees on the environment and various species of wildlife.
But What About Agriculture and Farming?
Intensive research into reforestation has identified that, within the US, it is possible to locate areas to strategically plant trees in a bid to rescue the planet and encourage biodiversity, while maintaining the already-existing areas dedicated to human inhabitation, agriculture, and farming. In fact, research has exemplified that there is actually room for a further 0.9 billion hectares dedicated to the production of forests for the storage of carbon.
Reforestation differs from afforestation – a climate change buffer that consists of installing forests in areas previously unoccupied by woodland – in that it suggests replenishing areas that are used to house forests, thus taking advantage of the areas already in existence that have carbon-absorbing qualities, which many afforestation areas actually don’t intrinsically have.
With an emphasis on the restoration of biodiverse ecosystems, reforestation also includes the planting of various diverse flora and fauna, in the hope of halting or minimizing the effects of climate change. Many companies wishing to become more eco-friendly have developed initiatives promising to plant trees for every purchase of their products, utilizing recycling rather than continuing to cut down forests for resources, and develop a more circular economy that provides jobs for those affected by this refocus – namely, those in places such as Aberdeen.
Deemed one of the most effective methods we have of altering our future trajectory, reforestation is an important aspect of the US’s fight against climate change. Are you in?
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