A Brief Description of Reforestation or Afforestation

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. It differs from the transplantation of larger trees in arboriculture, and from the lower cost but slower and less reliable distribution of tree seeds. In silviculture the activity is known as reforestation, or afforestation, depending on whether the area being planted has or has not recently been forested. Tree planting is grounded in forest science, and if performed properly can result in the successful regeneration of a deforested area. Reforestation is the commercial logging industry's answer to the large-scale destruction of old growth forests, but a planted forest rarely replicates the biodiversity and complexity of a natural forest.[citation needed] Because trees remove carbon dioxide from the air as they grow, tree planting can be used as a geoengineering technique to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Role in climate change

The development of markets for tradeable pollution permits in recent years have opened up a new source of funding for tree planting projects: carbon offsets. The creation of carbon offsets from tree planting projects hinges on the notion that trees help to mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide as they grow. However, the science linking trees and climate change is largely unsettled, and trees remain a controversial source of offsets. Climate impacts

Climate scientists believe that human-induced global deforestation is responsible for 18-25% of global climate change. The United Nations, World Bank and other leading nongovernmental organizations are encouraging reforestation, avoided deforestation and other projects that encourage tree planting to mitigate the effects of climate change. Trees sequester carbon through photosynthesis, converting carbon dioxide and water into molecular dioxygen (O2) and plant organic matter, such as carbohydrates (e.g., cellulose). Hence, forests that grow in area or density and thus increase in organic biomass will reduce atmospheric CO2 levels. (Carbon is released as CO2 if a tree or its lumber burns or decays, but as long as the forest is able to grow back at the same rate as its biomass is lost due to oxidation of organic carbon, the net result is carbon neutral.) In their 2001 assessment, the IPCC estimated the potential of biological mitigation options (mainly tree planting) is on the order of 100 Gigatonnes of carbon (cumulative) by 2050, equivalent to about 10% to 20% of projected fossil fuel emissions during that period.[29] However, the global cooling effect of forests from carbon sequestration is not the only factor to be considered. For example, the planting of new forests may initially release some of the area's existing carbon stores into the atmosphere. Specifically, the conversion of peat bogs into oil palm plantations has made Indonesia the world's third largest producer of greenhouse gases.[30] Compared to less vegetated lands

To date, most tree planting offsets strategies have taken only the first effect into account. A study published in December 2005 combined all these effects and found that tropical forestation has a large net cooling effect, because of increased cloudiness and because of high tropical growth and carbon sequestration rates.[31] Trees grow three times faster in the tropics than in temperate zones; each tree in the rainy tropics removes about 22 kilograms (50 pounds) of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.[32] However, this study found little to no net global cooling from tree planting in temperate climates, where warming due to sunlight absorption by trees counteracts the global cooling effect of carbon sequestration. Furthermore, this study confirmed earlier findings that reforestation of colder regions — where long periods of snow cover, evergreen trees, and slow sequestration rates prevail — probably results in global warming. According to Ken Caldeira, a study co-author from the Carnegie Institution for Science, "To plant forests outside of the tropics to mitigate climate change is a waste of...
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