Scientists address myths over large-scale tree planting

Scientists have proposed golden rules for tree-planting, a top priority for all nations this decade.

First, we must protect existing forests. Keeping forests in their original state is always preferable; undamaged old forests soak up carbon better and are more resilient to fire, storm and droughts.

Professor Alexandre Antonelli, director of science at the UK’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said, “We stress that halting deforestation and protecting remaining forests must be a priority.”

Next, put local people at the heart of tree-planting projects. Studies show that getting local communities on board is key to the success of tree-planting projects. It is often local people who have most to gain from looking after the forest in the future.

We must also maximize biodiversity recovery to meet multiple goals. Reforestation should be about several goals, including guarding against climate change, improving conservation and providing economic and cultural benefits.

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