Mass tree planting is another example, as with EAT-Lancet and corporate veganism, of how good intentions can get co-opted by bad interests. Planting trees could be beneficial or not so much. It depends on how it is done. Still, even if done well, it would never be as beneficial as protecting and replenishing the forests that already exist as living ecosystems.
But governments and corporations like the idea of planting trees because it is a way of greenwashing the problem and so continuing on with the status quo, continuing with the exploitation of native lands and the destruction of indigenous populations. Just plant more trees, largely as monocrop tree plantations, and pretend the ongoing ecocide does not matter.
My brother is a naturalist who has worked in several states around the country. When I shared the below article with him, he responded that,
“Yep, that’s been a joke among naturalists for a while! It’s kind of like the north woods of MN and WI. What was once an old growth pine forest is now a essentially a tree plantation of nothing but maples and birch grown for paper pulp. Where there are still pines, they are in perfect rows and never more than 30 years old. It’s some of the most depressing “wilderness” I’ve ever seen.”
Holistic, sustainable and regenerative multi-use land management would be far better. That is essentially what hunter-gatherers do with the land they live on. It can also be done with mixed farming such as rotating animals between pastures that might also have trees for production of fruit and nuts while allowing natural habitat for wildlife.
Here is the key question: Does the land have healthy soil that absorbs rainfall and supports a living ecosystem with diverse species? If not, it is not an environmental solution to ecological destruction, collapse, and climate change.
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Planting 1 Trillion Trees Might Not Actually Be A Good Idea
by Justine Calma
“But the science behind the campaign, a study that claims 1 trillion trees can significantly reduce greenhouse gases, is disputed. “People are getting caught up in the wrong solution,” says Forrest Fleischman, who teaches natural resources policy at the University of Minnesota and has spent years studying the effects of tree planting in India. “Instead of that guy from Salesforce saying, ‘I’m going to put money into planting a trillion trees,’ I’d like him to go and say, ‘I’m going to put my money into helping indigenous people in the Amazon defend their lands,’” Fleischman says. “That’s going to have a bigger impact.””