Planting more trees can lock up more carbon and help to reduce the effects of deforestation.
Many regions and countries have already restored much of their forest. In the UK we have more than doubled our area of forest in the past 60 years.
The forest area in Europe grew by 13 million hectares between 1990 and 2005. Asia, which had a net loss of 800,000 hectares of forest per year in the 1990s reported a net gain of one million hectares a year from 2000 to 2005. So we know how to do this and have seen that it can happen.
The UK is working with organisations such as WWF, the IUCN and the UN as part of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration. Through this initiative we are sharing our skills and experience of reforestation with other countries, such as China. While restoring forest cover will help at a global level, in the UK it’s simply not a solution. With 30 million registered drivers in the UK, three quarters of our total land area would have to be covered in forest to make car use carbon neutral.
- millions of people depend on the products and services that forests provide
- in the UK it is unlikely that the conversion of millions of hectares of agricultural land will be acceptable without large benefits or incentives
- many of the services provided by forests are public goods. E.g. life support services such as provision of freshwater and oxygen
- China is the only country in the East Asia and Pacific region that is increasing its forest cover