There is enough room to plant another 1.2 trillion trees on Earth. If we plant 1.2 trillion trees this could cancel out the last 10 years of CO2 emissions and sequester 160 billion tons of carbon. CO2 has a molecular weight of 44 versus 12 for carbon. So this would be 587 billion tons of CO2. Another study from the journal Science indicates that added trees could store 830 billion tons of CO2.
The additional trees could be cut down in 20 years and the wood stores the CO2 unless they decay or are burned. Another batch of trees could be grown. If a breed of faster growing trees are used then every 12-15 years a batch of a trillion trees would offset all of the CO2 produced by civilization.
Above – Potentially possible tree density: Additional trees in yellow. (image: Crowther Lab / ETH Zurich)
“There is 400 gigatons now, in the 3 trillion trees, and if you were to scale that up by another trillion trees that’s in the order of hundreds of gigatons captured from the atmosphere – at least 10 years of anthropogenic emissions completely wiped out,” Crowther said.
They using machine learning and AI to analyze an enormous data set which allowed the researchers to predict the number of trees that could feasibly be planted in empty patches around the world.
Additionally, we are now starting to understand an even bigger carbon pool in the soil. As the global temperatures rise and the soil warms, a predicted 55 gigatons of carbon stored in the Earth’s soil could be emitted into the atmosphere – roughly the equivalent carbon emission of the U.S. per year. With no soil restoration activities, like planting cover crops, this will accelerate the rate of climate change by up to 17%.
Researcher Thomas Crowther and team used the largest global dataset of forest inventory data (the Global Forest Biodiversity Initiative), measured by people on the ground in over 1.2 million locations around the world, combined with satellite observations, to get a mechanistic understanding of the global forest system. They use an equivalent database for below-ground ecology (the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative), with tens of thousands of soil samples that describe the global patterns in the biomass and diversity of the global soil microbiome, paired with satellite data to generate a first glimpse at the billions of below-ground species that determine soil fertility, atmospheric composition and the climate.
Using this combination of above ground and below ground data they can identify regions of high priority for biodiversity conservation. Additionally, we can finally start to understand the feedbacks that determine atmospheric carbon concentrations over the rest of the century. We now understand that, as the soil warms, carbon emissions from the soil will increase, particularly in the high-latitude arctic and sub-arctic regions.
SOURCES – Trillion Tree Campaign, institute für integrative biology – Crowther Lab, youtube
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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