forest Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Herstel de bossen van de wereld

OXFORD – De mensheid heeft altijd al een precaire relatie met bossen gehad. We zijn van ze afhankelijk om het klimaat en regenval te reguleren, om lucht en water te reinigen, om een veelheid aan planten- en diersoorten te onderhouden, en om het levensonderhoud van meer dan een miljard mensen te ondersteunen. Toch blijven we ze vernietigen, tot op het punt dat nu nog maar de helft van het originele bosareaal van de aarde over is.

De prijs van ontbossing kan nauwelijks overschat worden. Bomen consumeren grote hoeveelheden koolstofdioxide terwijl ze groeien, wat ze cruciale gereedschappen maakt voor het absorberen van de broeikasgassen – van auto’s, fabrieken, energiecentrales, en vee – die resulteren in klimaatverandering. Als we doorgaan met bosareaal te verliezen, zal het doel van het klimaatverdrag in Parijs om de opwarming van de aarde te beperken tot minder dan 2 graden Celsius (boven pre-industriële niveaus) in 2050 onmogelijk te behalen zijn. In feite zullen we om dat doel te behalen zelfs een significante hoeveelheid bosareaal moeten herstellen dat al verdwenen is.

Er zijn twee manieren om herbebossing aan te pakken. De eerste is om landbouwgronden in onbruik te laten raken, en dan te wachten tot ze op natuurlijke wijze verwilderen tot bos. Dit zou niet veel kosten, maar zou tientallen jaren duren. De tweede optie is proactiever: plant miljarden nieuwe bomen.

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