New Study Shows Exactly How Planting Trees Could Save the Planet

Delphine Wilson| February 7, 2020

When you read the science and see how out-of-control emissions are affecting our planet, it’s easy to feel paralyzed.

The numbers are so menacing, it begs the question: What can you as an individual do to help?

As it turns out, a lot. 

But only if you know where to look for actionable ideas and inspiration. Which is why we’re starting the ARC Environmental Series, to help you find the ideas and inspiration you need to make a difference.

In this first post of the ARC Environmental Series, we want to talk about some exciting new research on how trees may be just the thing we need to save the planet. 

 

New Research: 1 Billion Hectares of Forest Could Save the Planet

We’ve known for some time that maintaining and improving the health of the Earth’s forests and trees is the best strategy we have for removing carbon dioxide from the environment.

What wasn’t clear though—until now—was just how many trees we needed.

But a study by Crowther Lab showed that with “0.9 billion hectares of restored tree cover,” (1 hectare = 2.47 acres approximately) we could reduce excess atmospheric carbon to levels “as low as those observed in pre-industrial times.”

The study also found that Earth’s land can support 4.4 billion hectares of continuous tree coverage, 1.6 billion more than exists currently. Further 0.9 billion hectares of that 1.6 billion are located “outside of areas currently used for human development.”

In short, we have enough land to drive carbon levels down to pre-industrial levels. And 90 percent of that land can be used without disrupting human development.

Why We Have to Act Now

Of course, there are caveats.

Global reforestation takes time, and current restoration efforts aren’t doing enough. In addition to the time it takes to organize to plant trees, there’s the time it takes for trees to grow.

Before new trees can store enough carbon to impact the atmosphere, they need decades to grow. So, while the path forward is straightforward in concept, organizing the resources and aligning efforts to restore the world’s forest in a timely manner is no small undertaking.

That means we have to start acting today. So in the next couple sections we’ll explain how we, along with our customers, are helping, as well as how you can get involved.

 

How Our Customers are Helping to Plant Trees

In 2019, ARC partnered with One Tree Planted to start the Print and Plant Initiative.

This enables our customers and us to work together to restore the natural resources used to create the paper we need for our daily business operations.

It was important to us that this initiative represented more than just lip service. It had to be real. So we were excited when this recent study validated the importance of our Print and Plant Initiative, and others like it. 

If you’d like to learn more about Print and Plant or are interested in getting involved, this page can tell you everything you need to know about the program. In the meantime, here are three other ways you can get involved on your own.

 

3 Ways to Support Reforestation

The study we referenced identified three ways individuals can help the reforestation effort:

  1. Plant trees.
  2. Support restoration organizations.
  3. Make environmentally conscious purchases.

 

To help you do any one (or all) of these, here are a few resources.

First, you can sign up for our environmental partner, One Tree Planted’s,newsletter to be notified when there are community planting events near you. Of course, you can also plant trees on your own in your garden too.

There are also a number of ongoing restoration projects spearheaded by One Tree Planted that you can support. Or you can look into restoration projects put on by other local organizations.

Finally, One Tree Planted has a list of environmentally conscious companies you can purchase products from. It’s also a good idea to research more about how the companies you currently purchase from are impacting the environment.