What can't a tree do? They give us shade, fresh air, sequester carbon dioxide, help maintain our water tables and keep our land from eroding. They provide wildlife the habitat and some trees even give us fruit and other useful products like maple syrup. Carbonfund.org is, naturally, a big supporter of forestry-based carbon offsets and has been for some time.
Now, I don't need to go on and on about how great trees are, but I read an article today that made me re-think the way that I view forest preservation and its importance. An article by Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute really posed a great argument for the necessary role of reforestation and avoided deforestation in climate change mitigation strategies. In his recent article it says:
Deforestation is no longer just a matter of local flooding, but also rising seas worldwide and the many other effects of climate change. Nature has just raised the ante on protecting forests.
The point that Mr. Brown is getting at is that deforestation has effects with local and global ramifications. Degraded forest land causes local flooding and soil erosion, but also contributes to global warming . Mr. Brown also states that there are " 930 million hectares" of land that can be economically, viably reforested and that can "absorb roughly 21.6 billion tons of CO2 per year." That is more than 4 times the annual emissions of China!!!