Why We Need To Go Beyond Tree Plantation To Increase Earth’s Green Cover

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“To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, to live as a people, we must have trees.” –  Theodore Roosevelt

As this article rightly states, “forests are one of the planet’s first lines of defence against climate change, absorbing as much as a quarter of man-made carbon emissions each year.”

Apart from this, trees play an unconditional and more very important role on Earth. Keeping this in mind, plantation drives are run with the aim to increase green cover, renovate forests and create anthro-forests or man-made forests. 

Ethiopia set the world record for ‘most trees planted in a day’ on July 29, 2019, as part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ‘Green Legacy Initiative’, a reforestation plan to address Ethiopia’s rapid tree loss.

But, despite global, as well as local campaigns and efforts, green cover is not improving very fast. This shows that not only is plantation important, but ‘Care After Plantation’ (CAP) is also equally, or more important, to ensure the survival of a planted sapling and its development into a tree.

We should take responsibility to ‘Care After Plantation’ for a better future.

Saplings are like children that need nurturing, care and a proper environment to grow in. Where the saplings do not find such conditions to grow, results are not good; many saplings die before achieving the status of trees. CAP will take care of saplings, growing young trees and biodiversity.

Five-Year maintenance time is a must for the success of plantations. Most saplings die in the first year. Saplings which have been growing since the past five years, typically grow into a forest.

Due to lack of pre and post-planting management, moisture stress, poor soil, planting an unmanageable number of seedlings, lack of enforcement and monitoring systems at the grassroots level, it is not possible to achieve the maximum success in the transformation of saplings into trees. Climate change will alter global tree coverage. If we take no action, then the global potential canopy cover may shrink by about 223 million hectares by 2050, with maximum losses in the tropics.

The landowners, communities, businesses, students, teachers, employees, officers, leaders and other stakeholders should play an important role in ‘Care After Plantation’.

Saplings should be planted according to the ‘city master plan’ and ‘village development plan’ so that they do not have to be cut later. Saplings planted on the roadsides are prone to grazing, vehicular and human interference.

The developed nations in the future will have higher rates of green governance, carbon negativity, forest cover, sustainable development, household size, education and health.

CAP will help to achieve these targets through people’s participation. It will raise awareness at the grassroots level and will help to increase the green cover. The resultant forests will create wildlife habitat, increase carbon sink area, provide oxygen, reduce flood risk, prevent soil erosion, increase groundwater, improve aesthetics and increase sustainability. CAP will encourage people to learn about plant species, management of pests and diseases, plantation land management, and conservation methods.

Students and Teachers are playing important role to cause awareness at the grassroots level.

A recent study in the journal Science, mapped the global potential tree coverage and showed that 4.4 billion hectares of canopy cover could exist under the current climate. Excluding existing trees, agricultural and urban areas, scientists found that there is a scope for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover, which could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in areas that would naturally support woodlands and forests. This highlights global tree restoration as one of the most effective carbon drawdown solutions to date, once they reach maturity.

If we want to keep the global average temperature increase below our 2°C target, then we will have to increase global forest cover, along with keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and maximum reliability on renewable energy.

So, don’t just invest in plantation, but also take ‘Care After Plantation’ to fulfil our environmental duties with responsibility. Creating a better environment is not only our right but duty also.

“People who will not sustain trees will soon live in a world that will not sustain people.”Bryce Nelson

This post has been written by a YKA Climate Correspondent as part of #WhyOnEarth. Join the conversation by adding a post here.
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