A world without forests would be a world without life. They are not only home to most of the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity, but also serve as sponges for carbon dioxide and heat-trapping greenhouse gases generated by human activity.
Overcoming the climate crisis depends upon trees. If forests vanished altogether, humankind would disappear with them as food chains collapsed and zoonotic diseases raged out of control.
The world has lost at least 35% of its forests in the last three centuries, and 82% of the remaining forests are degraded to some extent by human activity, according to a study. The degradation has been driven by agriculture, industrial logging, urbanisation and infrastructure.
Digging in to save the planet
To help tackle this, forest restoration projects are being implemented worldwide as a nature-based solution to adress climate change and drive biodiversity recovery.
The Bonn Challenge, for instance, was launched in 2011 with a goal of bringing 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.