Natural forests store more carbon for longer compared to plantations and agroforestry. The carbon sequestration potential of natural forests is 40 times greater than that of plantations, a new analysis has found. But countries like Brazil, China and Indonesia are relying more on expanding plantations to meet their regreening goals. About 66 percent of forest restoration commitments in tropical and subtropical countries involve planting some kind of agricultural crop. Natural forests are 40 times more effective than plantations for storing carbon, making them the best option for slowing the global average temperature rise, a group of scientists says. Forests help mitigate climate change by sucking out carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, locking it away in their trunks and soil. But regreening efforts in many countries rely on the expansion of plantations, where commercially important crops are grown, rather than forest restoration. This might undercut the gains from forest restoration efforts. “We understand the economic importance of plantations for many countries,” said Charlotte Wheeler, a forest researcher at the University of Edinburgh and co-author of a recent commentary in Nature . “However, natural forests are the only option that can realistically help mitigate climate change.” Wheeler, with colleagues at the […]

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