Restoring forests could capture two-thirds of the carbon humans have added to the atmosphere

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Reforestation could be a powerful tool against climate change, according to a new study. Pictured, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, October 2013. (CNN) — Restoring the world’s lost forests could remove two thirds of all the planet-warming carbon that is in the atmosphere because of human activity, according to a new study. Since the industrial revolution, humans have added around 300 billion tons of extra carbon to the atmosphere — mainly through burning fossil fuels — which is heating the planet to dangerous levels. But trees naturally remove carbon from the atmosphere, storing it above and below ground. A new study , carried out by researchers at Swiss university ETH Zurich and published Thursday in the journal Science, has calculated that restoring degraded forests all over the world could capture about 205 billion tons of carbon in total. Global carbon emissions are currently around 10 billion tons per year. The researchers identified ecosystems around the world that would naturally support some level of tree cover, but have become "degraded" — deforested for timber, for example, or turned into farmland that has since been abandoned. They excluded areas that are currently used as urban or agricultural land, or that would […]

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