Afforestation

Afforestation

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Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest. Reforestation
Reforestation
Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation....

 is the reestablishment of forest cover, either naturally (by natural seeding, coppice, or root suckers) or artificially (by direct seeding or planting). Many governments and non-governmental organizations directly engage in programs of afforestation to create forests, increase carbon capture and sequestration, and help to anthropogenically improve biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

. (In the UK, afforestation may mean converting the legal status of some land to "royal forest
Royal forest
A royal forest is an area of land with different meanings in England, Wales and Scotland; the term forest does not mean forest as it is understood today, as an area of densely wooded land...

".)

In areas of degraded soil


In some places, forests need help to reestablish themselves because of environmental
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

 factors. For example, in arid zones, once forest cover is destroyed, the land may dry and become inhospitable to new tree growth. Other factors include overgrazing
Overgrazing
Overgrazing occurs when plants are exposed to intensive grazing for extended periods of time, or without sufficient recovery periods. It can be caused by either livestock in poorly managed agricultural applications, or by overpopulations of native or non-native wild animals.Overgrazing reduces the...

 by livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

, especially animals such as goat
Goat
The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

s, cows, and over-harvesting of forest resources. Together these may lead to desertification
Desertification
Desertification is the degradation of land in drylands. Caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change and human activities, desertification is one of the most significant global environmental problems.-Definitions:...

 and the loss of topsoil
Topsoil
Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top to . It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs.-Importance:...

; without soil, forests cannot grow until the long process of soil creation has been completed - if erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

 allows this. In some tropical areas, forest cover removal may result in a duricrust
Duricrust
Duricrust is a hard layer on or near the surface of soil. Duricrusts can range in thickness from a few millimeters or centimeters to several meters....

 or duripan
Duripan
A duripan is a diagnostic soil horizon of the USDA soil taxonomy that is cemented by illuvial silica into a subsurface hardpan. Similar to a fragipan, petrocalcic horizon and petrogypsic horizon, it is firmly cemented and restricts soil management. In soil descriptions, they are most often denoted...

 that effectively seal off the soil to water penetration and root growth. In many areas, reforestation is impossible because people are using the land. In other areas, mechanical breaking up of duripans or duricrusts is necessary, careful and continued watering may be essential, and special protection, such as fencing, may be needed.

Brazil


Because of the extensive Amazon
Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest , also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America...

 deforestation during the last decades and ongoing, the small efforts of afforestation are insignificant on a national scale of the Amazon Rainforest.

China


China has deforested most of its historically wooded areas. China reached the point where timber yields declined far below historic levels, due to over-harvesting of trees beyond sustainable yield. Although it has set official goals for reforestation, these goals were set for an 80 year time horizon and are not significantly met by 2008. China is trying to correct these problems by projects as the Green Wall of China
Green Wall of China
The Green Wall of China, also known as the Green Great Wall or Great Green Wall , will be a series of human-planted forest strips in the People's Republic of China, designed to hold back the expansion of the Gobi Desert...

, which aims to replant a great deal of forests and halt the expansion of the Gobi desert
Gobi Desert
The Gobi is a large desert region in Asia. It covers parts of northern and northwestern China, and of southern Mongolia. The desert basins of the Gobi are bounded by the Altai Mountains and the grasslands and steppes of Mongolia on the north, by the Hexi Corridor and Tibetan Plateau to the...

. A law promulgated in 1981 requires that every citizen over the age of 11 plant at least one tree per year. As a result, China currently has the highest afforestation rate of any country or region in the world, with 47,000 square kilometers of afforestation in 2008. However, the forest area per capita is still far lower than the international average. An ambitious proposal for China is the Aerially Delivered Re-forestation and Erosion Control System

North Africa


In North Africa, the sahara forest project coupled with the Seawater Greenhouse
Seawater Greenhouse
The Seawater Greenhouse is a technology that enables the growth of crops in arid regions, using a greenhouse structure, seawater and solar energy...

 has been proposed. Some projects have also been launched in countries as Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

 to revert desertification. As of 2010, African leaders are discussing the combining of national countries in their continent to increase effectiveness. In addition, other projects as the Keita project in Niger have been launched in the past, and have been able to locally revert damage done by desertification
Desertification
Desertification is the degradation of land in drylands. Caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change and human activities, desertification is one of the most significant global environmental problems.-Definitions:...

. See Development aid#Effectiveness

Europe


Europe has deforested the majority of its historical forests. The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU) has paid farmers for afforestation since 1990, offering grants to turn farmland back into forest and payments for the management of forest. Between 1993 and 1997, EU afforestation policies made possible the re-forestation of over 5,000 square kilometres of land. A second program, running between 2000 and 2006, afforested more than 1000 square kilometres of land (precise statistics not yet available). A third such program began in 2007.

In Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, the National Program of Afforestation was introduced by the government after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, when total area of forests shrank to 20% of country's territory. Consequently, forested areas of Poland grew year by year, and on December 31, 2006, forests covered 29% of the country (see: Polish forests). It is planned that by 2050, forests will cover 33% of Poland.

According to FAO
Fão
Fão is a town in Esposende Municipality in Portugal....

 statistics, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 had the third fastest afforestation rate in Europe in the 1990-2005 period, after Iceland and Ireland. In those years, a total of 44,360 square kilometers were afforested, and the total forest cover rose from 13,5 to 17,9 million hectares. In 1990, forests covered 26,6% of the Spanish territory. As of 2007, that figure had risen to 36,6%. Spain today has the fifth largest forest area in the European Union.

Iran


Iran is considered a low forest cover region of the world with present cover approximating seven percent of the land area. This is a value reduced by an estimated six million hectares of virgin forest, which includes oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

, almond
Almond
The almond , is a species of tree native to the Middle East and South Asia. Almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree...

 and pistacio. Due to soil substrates, it is difficult to achieve afforestation on a large scale compared to other temperate areas endowed with more fertile and less rocky and arid soil conditions. Consequently, most of the afforestation is conducted with non-native species, leading to habitat destruction
Habitat destruction
Habitat destruction is the process in which natural habitat is rendered functionally unable to support the species present. In this process, the organisms that previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity. Habitat destruction by human activity mainly for the purpose of...

 for native flora
Flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 and fauna
Fauna
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...

, and resulting in an accelerated loss of biodiversity.

See also

  • Agroforestry
    Agroforestry
    Agroforestry is an integrated approach of using the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock.It combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy and sustainable land-use systems.-Definitions:According to...

  • Buffer strip
    Buffer strip
    A buffer strip is an area of land maintained in permanent vegetation that helps to control air, soil, and water quality, along with other environmental problems, dealing primarily on land that is used in agriculture. Buffer strips trap sediment, and enhance filtration of nutrients and pesticides by...

  • CarbonFix Standard
    CarbonFix Standard
    The CarbonFix Standard is an initiative supported by over 60 organisations promotes the development of climate forestation projects to sequester carbon from the atmosphere...

  • Deforestation
    Deforestation
    Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

  • Deforestation during the Roman period
    Deforestation during the Roman period
    The rise and fall of the Roman Empire encompasses the time when Rome was the leading contributor to deforestation in the Mediterranean. Whereas the Mediterranean was largely "prehistoric" in 1000 BC, it was definitely "historic" by 500 AD. Roman geographical and population expansion spread methods...

  • Desertification
    Desertification
    Desertification is the degradation of land in drylands. Caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change and human activities, desertification is one of the most significant global environmental problems.-Definitions:...

  • Forestry
    Forestry
    Forestry is the interdisciplinary profession embracing the science, art, and craft of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values for human benefit. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands...

  • Great Plains Shelterbelt
    Great Plains Shelterbelt
    The Great Plains Shelterbelt was a project to create windbreaks in the Great Plains states of the United States, and was launched in 1934. President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the project in response to the severe dust storms of the Dust Bowl, which resulted in significant soil erosion and...

  • Macro-engineering
    Macro-engineering
    In engineering, macro-engineering is the implementation of extremely large-scale design projects...

  • Proposed sahara forest project
  • Reforestation
    Reforestation
    Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation....

  • Sand fence
    Sand fence
    A sand fence is a structure similar to a snow fence used to force wind blown, drifting sand to accumulate in a desired place. Sand fences are employed to control erosion and to recruit new material in desert areas....

  • Seawater Greenhouse
    Seawater Greenhouse
    The Seawater Greenhouse is a technology that enables the growth of crops in arid regions, using a greenhouse structure, seawater and solar energy...

  • Tubestock
    Tubestock
    Tubestock is the plural term for young plants ready for revegetation. Tubestock go through a process which involves a large consumption of water. The plastic tubes that the plant grows in are about 8 cm tall with a diameter of 4.25 cm are tightly filled with potting mix peat moss and...

  • Windbreak
    Windbreak
    A windbreak or shelterbelt is a plantation usually made up of one or more rows of trees or shrubs planted in such a manner as to provide shelter from the wind and to protect soil from erosion. They are commonly planted around the edges of fields on farms. If designed properly, windbreaks around a...

  • International Year of Forests
    International Year of Forests
    The year 2011 was declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations to raise awareness and strengthen the sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations....