Planting More Trees Could Slow Global Warming

Growing certain tree species in the right locations could capture massive amounts of carbon dioxide

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Planting trees may play a bigger role in curbing climate change than once thought. Scientists say that the right combination of trees in certain areas could capture as much as 205 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the next 40 to 100 years. The proposed regions span nearly a billion hectares across the globe, and scientists estimate that the project would cost around $300 billion dollars, Scientific American reports.

To find land suitable for it, a team of scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich analyzed nearly 80,000 satellite photos from a large dataset of hectare-sized plots of land. They then created a map that identifies desirable regions around the world with favorable soil and climatic conditions for such large-scale restoration. It would have to be a team effort, drawing support from local communities and a variety of stakeholders, says ecologist and evolutionary biologist Robin Chazdon of the University of Connecticut, who was not involved in the study. To address this, the team also released a planning tool that will allow viewers to locate nearby areas that fall within the desired parameters for tree planting.

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