Study: Best carbon solution is trees

Muir Woods National Monument (California).

Credit: Justin Kern, flickr.

After a year of research, scientists at Oxford University have discovered the best technology for reducing carbon from the atmosphere: trees.

Their study, released earlier this year, looked at various methods such as capturing emissions from factories, extracting carbon directly from the air, and even adding lime to oceans to increase their ability to absorb carbon.

None of these methods were proved to be as effective as planting trees. As part of their natural processes, trees take carbon dioxide, a major atmospheric gas contributing to climate change, out of the atmosphere.

The research showed planting trees also costs less, has fewer uncertainties, and offers additional benefits. We all know that trees give us oxygen, fruit and wood, but a report last year showed that by reducing air pollution, trees also save more than 850 human lives and prevent 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory illness annually.

The Oxford researchers advised policy makers to use trees along with other improvements to soil as they could actually draw 2.5 years of carbon emissions from the atmosphere by 2050. However, the researchers didn't advise doing so in lieu of cutting fossil fuel use and emissions.

Forests are critical for stemming the tide of climate change. It's tragic then that climate change is actually making them more susceptible to wildfires, insect infestations, drought, and disease outbreaks.

Our wildlands are being impacted by climate change but they also play a significant role in lessening these impacts. There are many reasons why these places need to be protected and one is so that they can help us minimize the danger of climate change.

Science of course plays an important role too. Scientists can help us understand that, even though we often take them for granted, trees are vitally important.

This understanding is why we collaborate with others to ensure our national forests are cared for. Will you join us?


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