In the past 20 years, forests the size of France have grown again around the world. However, that’s still not enough to offset the losses – the Swiss-based NGO reported the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on Tuesday.

An analysis of satellite data by a team of scientists led by the WWF found that nearly 59 million hectares of forests have been regenerated since 2000. According to the study, such forests can absorb approximately 5.9 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide – more Of annual emissions in the United States.

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The study looked at forests that had grown spontaneously or with little human assistance, for example by planting native trees or fencing the ground to reduce grazing. Scientists say protecting and restoring forests is a better solution to climate change than planting trees, as existing forests absorb more greenhouse gases while protecting nature and biodiversity.

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We have known for a long time that natural forest regeneration is often cheaper, more carbon-rich, and better for biodiversity than actively planted forests. Said William Baldwin Cantilo, Director of Nature Based Solutions at WWF-UK. – This research tells us where and why regeneration is taking place, and how we can recreate these conditions elsewhere It is to explain.

The study found that the Atlantic forests of Brazil have restored an estimated 4.2 million hectares since 2000. In the same period, 1.2 million hectares of taiga were regenerated in northern Mongolia. Forests in Africa and Canada have also grown again. However, the authors concluded that such “encouraging signals” could not be taken for granted. And they warn that the world is still losing forests at an “alarming rate”, much faster than the pace of re-establishment. Other studies found that 386 million hectares of tree cover – an area more than seven times the area of ​​naturally renewable forest that was identified in the study – has been lost worldwide in the past two decades.

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If we provide forests (…) a large-scale regeneration space, and if we create that space and ensure its sustainability in the future, it will play a major role in avoiding climate change – Baldwin Cantilo said. “This does not mean that we do not have to stop deforestation, we certainly do.” This doesn’t mean we don’t need to reduce emissions (…), but we do need all of these things together. And we can do a lot more to benefit from this renewal than we are currently doing – added. (PAP)

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