(3/6) Reforestation: Opportunities and Limitations

After initiating in 2018 a Beekeeping Pilot, Naturevolution start a reforestation project near the villages of Makay: village forests. But we could start this project without you explain this autumn how it fits in both a specific local context and in a worrying global context. Through 6 items we take stock of the current state of deforestation, commitments and actions initiated by the different governments, reforestation initiatives in terms especially in Madagascar and finally the possible actions to your scale to fight against deforestation . An entire program !

Reforest [ʁǝ.bwɑ.ze] : Planting trees on land where there were woods that were destroyed.

Afforestation or reforestation?

Often considered synonymous, we choose to use the term here reforestation to indicate the fact planting trees in generalWithout the type, destination or use of the forest created for clarification.

Other terms describe specific activities, but the meaning of words retains an element of uncertainty: reforestation (Which seems more appropriate to speak of restoring previously existing forests) Re-ensauvagement or rewilding (Making land the nature actively or passively), regeneration of natural vegetation (But of 500 years ago or 10,000 years?), Etc.

Reforest massively against climate change?

In 2015, the biologist Thomas Crowther counted for the first time the number of trees in the world and had arrived at the figure of 3.000 billion, about 422 trees per capita.

According to a new study de l’ETH-Zürich en Suisse de juillet 2019, il serait possible d’ajouter 1.000 milliards d’arbres sur la planète, ce qui permettrait d’absorber 205 gigatonnes de CO2 et de faire diminuer de 25 % le taux de CO2 dans l’atmosphère au cours des 40-100 prochaines années si nous plantons les bons arbres aux bons endroits. Il est bon de noter qu’il s’agit d’un scénario réaliste et que ces 1000 milliards d’arbres ne viendront pas accaparer des terres agricoles aujourd’hui utilisées. Il s’agit plutôt de terres abandonnées ou dégradées.

Nursery in Madagascar

The first initiative of village nurseries established by Naturevolution early in the Makay project.

A scenario far from a panacea

This project is a great opportunity to mitigate some of the effects of the climate crisisBut only in the medium term carbon storage is not immediate. It is also ofa "carbon storage capital" finished If trees can absorb much of the CO2 generated to date in the atmosphere, the fact remains that we must stop inject such amounts of it every day.

It is important to note that reforestation projects associated with the resale of carbon credits generated in the form of "rights to emit greenhouse gases," as is sometimes the case, just cancel the benefits described in the study above (the absorption of existing CO2). We will not cover the broad topic of carbon finance in this article, but Friends of the Earth have achieved a very good record on the subject, with many links to deepen.

Such large-scale reforestation can only have very few benefits in terms of biodiversity. Les plantations forestières, généralement monospécifiques ou faiblement diversifiées, ne permettent pas de restaurer les riches écosystèmes détruits par la reforestation, sauf en cas de choix notable – et rare – d’un tel objectif dans le projet, comme le ré-ensauvagement traité ci-dessous.

Plantation de palmiers à huile à Sulawesi (Indonésie)

Les plantations sont aussi exigeantes en eau et resteront plus vulnérables que des forêts matures aux feux, maladies et orages le temps de leur croissance. Leur entretien est donc essentiel. Une utilisation non destructrice de la ressource bois ainsi générée (pour la consctruction ou l’ameublement) peut permettre un stockage plus long du CO2 avant son relâchement dans l’atmosphère.

Le reboisement peut présenter de nombreux autres avantages comme l’enraiement de l’érosion, la rétention de l’eau dans le sol, un bénéfice en terme de précipitations dans le climat régional, ou encore en fournissant des ressources aux populations environnantes et en réduisant d’autant la pression sur d’autres forêts que l’on cherche à protéger. C’est précisément ce que Naturevolution envisage avec le Village Forestry Project in the Makay massif in Madagascar.

The fact remains that before planting new forests we should first stop destroying the magnificent primary forests that we remain!

Formation of pit in Makay by an erosion process.

Panorama reforestation policies worldwide

While deforestation is far from being under control and that measures taken to curb it are insufficient, governments are choosing to massive campaigns to plant treesOften highly publicized.

2011 - Germany and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) launch Challenge de Bonn. The objective is to reforest 150 million hectares by 2020In order to halt the loss of forest area.

2014 - the ambition is revised upwards with the " New York Declaration on Forests "At the climate summit. The objective passes 350 million hectares by 2030.

The country went further by number of trees planted or announced, without always consistent:

  • Australia wants to plant one billion trees by 2050, but continues to cut primary forests.
  • Pakistan announces 10 billion trees by 2030.
  • India beating a world record in 2017 with 66 million trees planted in 12 hours with the help of 1.5 million volunteers.
  • The city of Milan announced a target of 3 million trees by 2030.
  • Iceland planted 3 to 4 million trees since 2015.
  • Madagascar wants to become a green island with a target of 40 million trees planted per year.
  • In July 2019, Ethiopia planted 363 million trees in 12 hours, breaking the record of India. The country wants to replant more than 4 billion trees in the coming months. 4% of the territory is currently covered by forests, against 1/3 in the early 20nd century.

Does it work?

The campaigns of planting trees, like those in Ethiopia between 2010 and 2015, often hide a harsh reality: lack of maintenance, 75% of sown seeds or planted trees did not survive.

Mais des succès passés montrent que ces campagnes – si tant est qu’elles soient bien réalisées – peuvent fonctionner :

  • In South Korea, following a massive reforestation program which lasted 25 years, the share of territory covered by forests has increased from 35% to 64%.
  • China reboise à grande échelle depuis les années 80, et prévoit de compléter en 2050 une ceinture forestière de 4500km de long pour contenir l’expansion du désert de Gobi. Si le retour de la couverture forestière est un franc succès, très peu d’espèces d’arbres ont été utilisées à travers le pays (entre 2 et 5) dans les programmes de reforestation, et les nouvelles forêts ainsi recréées n’ont pas permis le retour de la biodiversité.
  • France now has more forests in the Middle Ages thanks to forest management policies. Forest area increases, only one third of the annual biomass production being harvested. Le peu de diversité des forêts y est également critiqué, notamment pour faire face aux crises de la biodiversité et du réchauffement climatique.
Evolution of forest cover in France between 1830 and 2019.

Evolution of forest cover in France between 1830 and 2019.

And rewilding in?

The rewilding – ou ré-ensauvagement – consiste à rendre des terres à la nature, soit en recréant ce qui y était avant (une forêt tropicale, une savane, etc.), soit en laissant la nature y reprendre ses droits toute seule.

Cette pratique est particulièrement nécessaire en Europe, seulement 4% du territoire y étant protégé (et de nombreux usages y restent parfois permis, comme la chasse). C’est notamment face à ce constat que l’QUOTATION MARKS a créé le concept de Réserve de Vie Sauvage®, « un espace naturel dont la gestion est la non gestion, ou la libre évolution ». Les Réserves de Vie Sauvage de l’ASPAS sont reconnus comme les seuls espaces naturels de France, publics ou privés, acceptés au sein du réseau de protection de la biodiversité Rewilding Europe.

Ailleurs dans le monde, on peut citer les projets suivants :

Evolution of forest cover in the area of ​​Salgado between 2001 and 2019.

  • The project Omar Tello illustrates stranger bought 7 hectares of pastures (deforested long ago) and are replanted plants for 30 years he has saved from deforestation in all the countries. He is honored in very nice video (9 min).

In conclusion : It is quite possible to do and reforestation and promote biodiversity, simply good to go. And the rest of priority actively fight against deforestation at all levels!

Our Partners

This reforestation project is supported by MaltemInitial funding to the tune of € 10,000 was obtained from MaltemEnabling the launch of Village Forestry Project. Maltem is an ecosystem of specialized consulting companies in the digital transformation and sustainable innovation, and a partner of Naturevolution since 2016.

The entire series of articles

An article proposed by Gaëtan Deltour and Yann Bigant

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