Biodiversity is the key to life on Earth and reviving our damaged planet, says ecologist Thomas Crowther. Sharing the inside story of his headline-making research on reforestation, which led to the UN’s viral Trillion Trees Campaign, Crowther introduces Restor: an expansive, informative platform built to enable anyone, anywhere to help restore the biodiversity of Earth’s ecosystems.
The recent explosion of interest in tree restoration has transformed the climate change conversation. Although the trillion tree campaign – 1T.org – is now in the realm of politicians and influencers (Greta Thunberg: Davos leaders ignored climate activists’ demands, 24 January), it emerged from scientific literature. But what exactly did the science show?
Our paper on the restoration potential of forests received an overwhelming reaction in the media. We are so delighted for all the wonderful comments and discussion. And the conversation also raised several issues from a few people. These are all important considerations and they are points that we have been well aware of as we conducted the study. We give our brief answers to some of the comments below:
“Rather than building global models from satellite observations, we try to collect data from ecologists all over the world who are characterizing their ecosystems. We then use this information to inform the satellite observations, which can then be used to extrapolate the patterns across the globe…”
After 11 interviews with experts on native reforestation, holistic orchard management, water retention landscapes, perennial crop agriculture and more, I learned a lot of new things about the state of the world’s forests and the tools and knowledge we have to regenerate them.
People warned Marc Benioff, the billionaire chief executive of Salesforce, not to bother talking to the White House about global warming. But Mr. Benioff, a tech mogul and environmental philanthropist, felt sure he had found a climate change solution that even President Trump could love: Planting trees.
Planting a trillion trees is just one part of a broader solution to help fight climate change. Thomas Crowther argues for a holistic and principled approach to reforestation and cutting carbon emissions. As the world engages the Trillion Tree Campaign – a campaign originating with the United Nations Environment Programme and recently supported by the World Economic Forum to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change – it might seem like planting trees is an easy fix for our climate woes.
The World Economic Forum has launched a global initiative to grow, restore and conserve 1 trillion trees around the world – in a bid to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change. The 1t.org project aims to unite governments, non-governmental organisations, businesses and individuals in a “mass-scale nature restoration”.
During its 2020 Annual Meeting in Davos, the World Economic Forum (WEF) launched a multi-stakeholder effort to support efforts to grow, restore and conserve one trillion trees within the next ten years. The Forum says the global initiative toward “mass-scale nature restoration is an essential part of the solution for tackling climate change, while also delivering important biodiversity, livelihood, and broader sustainable development benefits.”
As temperatures rise and wildfires rage from Canada to Australia, forests have become a symbol of danger in a warming world. They may also be one of our best hopes for capturing and storing the unsustainable levels of carbon dioxide that humans have released into the atmosphere. “If we can do it right,” says British ecologist Thomas Crowther, “the conservation and restoration of forests can potentially buy us some time as we try to decarbonize our economies.”
Global heating appears to be making trees drop their leaves earlier, according to new research, confounding the idea that warmer temperatures delay the onset of autumn. The finding is important because trees draw huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the air and therefore play a key role in managing the climate.
Every autumn, the leaves on the trees first change their colors before eventually falling off, creating a colorful seasonal display. But even this spectacular setting is now being affected by climate change, the authors of a new study report. The higher temperatures appear to be delaying autumn and making the trees drop their leaves earlier and store less carbon.
Using a combination of experiments and long-term observational research dating back to 1948, scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and University of Munich found that leaves are likely to fall three to six days sooner by the end of the 21st century, rather than lengthening by one to three weeks as current models have predicted.
The belief that trees could limit global warming and climate change due to prolonged growing seasons has taken a hit with a new study showing that tree leaves are changing their colour earlier than normal. The new findings overturn the belief that warmer temperatures delay the shedding of leaves that marks the beginning of autumn and suggest earlier shedding of leaves in temperate countries.
The length of the growing season in temperate forests has been increasing under recent climate change because of earlier leaf emergence and later leaf senescence. However, Zani et al. show that this trend might be reversed as increasing photosynthetic productivity begins to drive earlier autumn leaf senescence (see the Perspective by Rollinson).
Last year, a Swiss laboratory published a report revealing that there are 1.7 billion hectares of unused land where over a trillion new trees could have room to grow. The founder of that laboratory, Thomas Crowther, told The Agenda with Stephen Cole why he believes that planting trees is one of the most effective ways of mitigating climate change.
This year the United Nations released a devastating report revealing how the world failed to meet a single one of the 20 Aichi biodiversity targets agreed in Japan in 2010. Some of these goals included harvesting fish sustainably, improving the conservation status of endangered species and minimizing the impact on coral reefs.
TWO years ago, British ecologist Tom Crowther set up a lab at ETH Zurich in Switzerland with the aim of doing high-impact science to show how and where we can restore the planet. His 30-strong team is already making waves. Crowther’s lab typically starts by counting things – from trees to nematodes – before bringing the numbers together to see global trends and quantify the effects of potential interventions.