Reforestation

Reforestation

Overview


Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s and woodland
Woodland
Ecologically, a woodland is a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade. Woodlands may support an understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants including grasses. Woodland may form a transition to shrubland under drier conditions or during early stages of...

s that have been depleted, usually through 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....

.
Reforestation can be used to improve the quality of human life by soaking up pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 and dust from the air, rebuild natural habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

s and ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s, mitigate global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 since forests facilitate biosequestration
Biosequestration
Biosequestration is the capture and storage of the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by biological processes.This may be by increased photosynthesis ; by enhanced soil carbon trapping in agriculture; or by the use of algal bio sequestration to absorb the carbon...

 of atmospheric carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

, and harvest for resources, particularly timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

.

The term reforestation is similar to afforestation
Afforestation
Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest. Reforestation is the reestablishment of forest cover, either naturally or artificially...

, the process of restoring and recreating areas of woodlands or forests that may have existed long ago but were deforested
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....

 or otherwise removed at some point in the past.

Reforestation of large areas can be done through the use of measuring rope (for accurate plant spacing) and ribbeds, (or wheeled augers for planting the larger trees) for making the hole in which a seedling
Seedling
thumb|Monocot and dicot seedlingsA seedling is a young plant sporophyte developing out of a plant embryo from a seed. Seedling development starts with germination of the seed. A typical young seedling consists of three main parts: the radicle , the hypocotyl , and the cotyledons...

 or plant can be inserted.
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Encyclopedia


Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s and woodland
Woodland
Ecologically, a woodland is a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade. Woodlands may support an understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants including grasses. Woodland may form a transition to shrubland under drier conditions or during early stages of...

s that have been depleted, usually through 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....

.
Reforestation can be used to improve the quality of human life by soaking up pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 and dust from the air, rebuild natural habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

s and ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s, mitigate global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 since forests facilitate biosequestration
Biosequestration
Biosequestration is the capture and storage of the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by biological processes.This may be by increased photosynthesis ; by enhanced soil carbon trapping in agriculture; or by the use of algal bio sequestration to absorb the carbon...

 of atmospheric carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

, and harvest for resources, particularly timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

.

The term reforestation is similar to afforestation
Afforestation
Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest. Reforestation is the reestablishment of forest cover, either naturally or artificially...

, the process of restoring and recreating areas of woodlands or forests that may have existed long ago but were deforested
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....

 or otherwise removed at some point in the past.

Management


Reforestation of large areas can be done through the use of measuring rope (for accurate plant spacing) and ribbeds, (or wheeled augers for planting the larger trees) for making the hole in which a seedling
Seedling
thumb|Monocot and dicot seedlingsA seedling is a young plant sporophyte developing out of a plant embryo from a seed. Seedling development starts with germination of the seed. A typical young seedling consists of three main parts: the radicle , the hypocotyl , and the cotyledons...

 or plant can be inserted. Indigenous soil inoculates (e.g., Zaccaria bi color) can optionally be used to increase survival rates in hardy environments.

A debatable issue in managed reforestation is whether or not the succeeding forest will have the same 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...

 as the original forest. If the forest is replaced with only one species of tree and all other vegetation is prevented from growing back, a monoculture
Monoculture
Monoculture is the agricultural practice of producing or growing one single crop over a wide area. It is also known as a way of farming practice of growing large stands of a single species. It is widely used in modern industrial agriculture and its implementation has allowed for large harvests from...

 forest similar to agricultural crops would be the result. However, most reforestation involves the planting of different feedlots of seedlings taken from the area often of multiple species. Another important factor is the natural regeneration of a wide variety of plant and animal species that can occur on a clear cut. In some areas the suppression of forest fires for hundreds of years has resulted in large single aged and single species forest stands. The logging of small clear cuts and or prescribed burning, actually increases the biodiversity in these areas by creating a greater variety of tree stand ages and species.

For harvesting


Reforestation need not be only used for recovery of accidentally destroyed forests. In some countries, such as Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, the forests are managed by the wood products and pulp and paper industry
Pulp and paper industry
The global pulp and paper industry is dominated by North American , northern European and East Asian countries...

. In such an arrangement, like other crops, trees are replanted wherever they are cut. In such circumstances, the industry can cut the trees in a way to allow easier reforestation. In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the wood product and pulp and paper industry systematically replaces many of the trees it cuts, employing large numbers of summer workers for tree planting work.

In just 20 years, a teak
Teak
Teak is the common name for the tropical hardwood tree species Tectona grandis and its wood products. Tectona grandis is native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Burma, but is naturalized and cultivated in many countries, including those in Africa and the...

 plantation in Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

 can produce up to about 400 m of wood per hectare. As the natural teak forests of Asia become more scarce or difficult to obtain, the prices commanded by plantation-grown teak grow higher every year. Other species such as mahogany
Mahogany
The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored hardwood. It is a native American word originally used for the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban mahogany....

 grow slower than teak in Tropical America but are also extremely valuable. Faster growers include pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

, eucalyptus
Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia...

, and Gmelina
Gmelina arborea
Gmelina arborea, , locally known as Gamhar, is a fast growing deciduous tree, occurring naturally throughout greater part of India at altitudes up to 1500 meters...

.

Reforestation, if several native species are used, can provide other benefits in addition to financial returns, including restoration of the soil, rejuvenation of local flora and fauna, and the capturing and sequestering of 38 ton
Ton
The ton is a unit of measure. It has a long history and has acquired a number of meanings and uses over the years. It is used principally as a unit of weight, and as a unit of volume. It can also be used as a measure of energy, for truck classification, or as a colloquial term.It is derived from...

s of carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 per hectare
Hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

 per year.

The reestablishment of forests is not just simple tree planting. Forests are made up of a diversity of species and they build dead organic matter into soils over time. A major tree-planting program in a place like this would enhance the local climate and reduce the demands of burning large amounts of fossil fuels for cooling in the summer.

For climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 mitigation


Forests absorb carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 through their photosynthesis cycle, and by using this idea, increasing forests with reforestation and discouraging 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....

 will help mitigate global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

. Forest ecosystems are especially important to the global carbon cycle in two ways. First, they are responsible for moving around three billion tons of anthropogenic carbon every year. This amounts to about 30% of all carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. Second, forest ecosystems are terrestrial carbon sinks in that they store large amounts of carbon which accounts for as much as double the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

There are four major strategies available to mitigate carbon emissions through forestry activities: increase the amount of forested land through a reforestation process; increase the carbon density of existing forests at a stand and landscape scale; expand the use of forest products that will sustainably replace fossil-fuel emissions; and reduce carbon emissions that are caused from deforestation and degradation.

However, achieving the first strategy requires great effort of land transformation. For example, China has used 24 million ha of new forest plantation and natural forest regrowth to offset 21% of Chinese fossil fuel emissions in 2000. In theory, any tree would cover more forest area and absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. On the other hand, a genetically modified tree specimen might grow much faster than any other regular tree. Some of these trees are already being developed in the lumber and biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

 industries. These fast-growing trees would not only be planted for those industries but they can also be planted to help absorb carbon dioxide faster than regular trees. There are many projects around the world that use tree-planting as a way to offset carbon emissions, fighting climate change. For example, in China, Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

 Roots & Shoots, a division of the Jane Goodall Institute
Jane Goodall Institute
The Jane Goodall Institute is an international wildlife and environment conservation organization with branches in many countries. It was founded in 1977 by English primatologist Dr...

 launched The Million Tree Project in Kulun Qi, Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

 to plant one million trees to stop 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 help curb climate change.

The rate of deforestation has huge potential toward a cost-effective contribution to protect the atmosphere’s climate. At this point, there are 13 million ha of tropical regions that are deforested every year. These regions can reduce rates of deforestation by 50% by 2050.

A study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research
National Center for Atmospheric Research
The National Center for Atmospheric Research has multiple facilities, including the I. M. Pei-designed Mesa Laboratory headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. NCAR is managed by the nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and sponsored by the National Science Foundation...

 in Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of...

, USA, found that, unlike previous belief that forests in higher latitudes soak up a vast amount of carbon dioxide, more carbon dioxide is absorbed in tropical climates.
Trees in temperate latitudes have a net warming effect on the climate. The heat that dark leaves absorb outweighs the carbon they soak up, therefore, tropical trees absorb carbon dioxide as well as being able to cool the planet by up to 0.7 °C.

Trees in tropical climates have, on average, larger, brighter, and more abundant leaves than non-tropical climates. The advantage of planting trees in a tropical setting is the quicker growth rate
Growth rate
Growth rate may refer to:*Exponential growth, a growth rate classification*Compound annual growth rate or CAGR, a measure of financial growth*Economic growth, the increase in value of the goods and services produced by an economy...

 due to the longer rainy seasons. There is no need for the trees to hibernate and can therefore grow year-round.

An incredible portion of the Earth's 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...

 is situated in tropical areas. The lack of reforestation in tropical climates is putting a larger portion of species at risk of becoming endangered
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

.

A study of the girth
Girth
In graph theory, the girth of a graph is the length of a shortest cycle contained in the graph. If the graph does not contain any cycles , its girth is defined to be infinity....

 of 70,000 trees across Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 has shown that tropical forests are soaking up more carbon dioxide pollution than previously realized. The research suggests almost one fifth of fossil fuel emissions are absorbed by forests across Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, Amazonia and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

.

Simon Lewis
Simon Lewis
Simon Lewis is a novelist and screenwriter, born in Newport, Monmouthshire, in 1971. He went to school in Monmouth then studied Art and Art History at Goldsmiths College in London....

, a climate expert at the University of Leeds
University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England...

, who led the study, said: "Tropical forest trees are absorbing about 18% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels, substantially buffering the rate of change."

Extensive forest resources placed anywhere in the world will not always have a positive impact. For example, large reforestation programs in boreal regions have a limited impact on climate mitigation. This is because it substitutes a bright snow-dominated region that reflects the sunlight with dark forest canopies. On the other hand, a positive example would be reforestation projects in tropical regions, which would lead to a positive biophysical change such as the formation of clouds. These clouds would then reflect the sunlight
Albedo
Albedo , or reflection coefficient, is the diffuse reflectivity or reflecting power of a surface. It is defined as the ratio of reflected radiation from the surface to incident radiation upon it...

, creating a positive impact on climate mitigation.

Incentives



Some incentives for reforestation can be as simple as a financial compensation. Streck and Scholz (2006) explain how a group of scientists from various institutions have developed a compensated reduction of deforestation approach which would reward developing countries that disrupt any further act of deforestation. Countries that participate and take the option to reduce their emissions from deforestation during a committed period of time would receive financial compensation for the carbon dioxide emissions that they avoided. To raise the payments, the host country would issue government bonds or negotiate some kind of loan with a financial institution that would want to take part in the compensation promised to the other country. The funds received by the country could be invested to help find alternatives to the extensive cutdown of forests. This whole process of cutting emissions would be voluntary, but once the country has agreed to lower their emissions they would be obligated to reduce their emissions. However, if a country was not able to meet their obligation, their target would get added to their next commitment period. The authors of these proposals see this as a solely government-to-government agreement; private entities would not participate in the compensation trades.

Examples


In Java, Indonesia each newlywed couple is to give whoever is sermonizing their wedding 5 seedlings to combat global warming. Each couple that wishes to have a divorce has to give 25 seedlings to whoever divorces them.

In Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, reforestation is required as part of the federal forest law. 31% of Germany is forested, according to the second forest inventory of 2001–2003. The size of the forest area in Germany increased between the first and the second forest inventory due to forestation of degenerated bog
Bog
A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

s and agricultural areas.

Criticisms


Reforestation competes with other land uses such as food production, livestock grazing, and living space for further economic growth.

There is also the risk that through a forest fire
Wildfire
A wildfire is any uncontrolled fire in combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Other names such as brush fire, bushfire, forest fire, desert fire, grass fire, hill fire, squirrel fire, vegetation fire, veldfire, and wilkjjofire may be used to describe the same...

 or insect outbreak much of the stored carbon in a reforested area could make its way back to the atmosphere. Reduced harvesting rates and fire suppression have caused an increase in the forest biomass in the western United States over the past century. This causes an increase of about a factor of four in the frequency of fires due to longer and hotter dry seasons.

See also

  • Afforestation
    Afforestation
    Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest. Reforestation is the reestablishment of forest cover, either naturally or artificially...

  • Aerial reforestation
  • Revegetation
    Revegetation
    Revegetation is the process of replanting and rebuilding the soil of disturbed land. This may be a natural process produced by plant colonization and succession, or an artificial , accelerated process designed to repair damage to a landscape due to wildfire, mining, flood, or other cause...

  • 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....

  • 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...

  • Land rehabilitation
    Land rehabilitation
    Land rehabilitation is the process of returning the land in a given area to some degree of its former state, after some process has resulted in its damage...

  • Restoration ecology
    Restoration ecology
    -Definition:Restoration ecology is the scientific study and practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats in the environment by active human intervention and action, within a short time frame...

  • Richard St. Barbe Baker
    Richard St. Barbe Baker
    Richard St. Barbe Baker was an English forester, environmental activist and author, who contributed greatly to worldwide reforestation efforts. As a leader, he founded an organization, still active today, whose many chapters carry out reforestation internationally.-Early years:He was born in...

  • Treeplanting
    Treeplanting
    Tree planting is the process of transplanting tree seedlings, generally for forestry, land reclamation, or landscaping purposes. 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...

  • Plant A Tree Today Foundation
    Plant A Tree Today Foundation
    The Plant A Tree Today Foundation is a non-governmental environmental organization with primary operations in Thailand and Indonesia. Established in 2005, PATT attempts to raise environmental awareness and foster better practices in less developed nations around the world, planting trees as a...

    , an international reforestation program
  • 10,000 Trees for the Rouge Valley
    10,000 Trees for the Rouge Valley
    10,000 Trees for the Rouge Valley is a non-profit environmental organization that has held many Toronto-area tree plantings. It is a volunteer group that is dedicated to helping the environment, as it has restored more than of fragile land in the Rouge Watershed with the assistance of individuals,...

    , a reforestation program in Toronto, Canada
  • 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...


External links