According to Swiss researchers, restoring the forests of the earth is theoretically enough to reduce the number of greenhouse gases that heat up the earth to pre-industrial levels. And there is plenty of space: on Earth, an area larger than China is available to accommodate forests.
Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on cropland or urban areas.
(The picture above presents the "missing" planting in the world: the bluer, the more trees are possible. The map only shows the areas where planting is possible, so without cities, agricultural areas, forested areas, swamps, etc.)
The research team led by Swiss ecologist Tom Crowther reaches remarkable conclusions (published in the prestigious science magazine Science) after analyzing tens of thousands of satellite images of the earth's surface. There are currently around 5.5 billion hectares of forest on Earth; an area twice the size of Europe. But in addition, about 1.7 to 1.8 billion hectares are 'empty'. It is an area roughly the size of the US that is not used for agriculture or cities, where there is hardly any human activity, and where forests could grow well.
As trees grow, they absorb the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating and convert CO2 into matter and oxygen. New research estimates that a worldwide planting program could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, a figure the scientists describe as "mind-blowing."
"This new quantitative evaluation shows [forest] restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one," said Prof Tom Crowther at the Swiss university ETH Zürich, who led the research. "What blows my mind is the scale. I thought restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than all of the other climate change solutions proposed."
All in all, such a tree offensive is enough to store as much as 205 billion tons of carbon, according to the calculations. That is two-thirds of the approximately 300 billion tons of CO2 that humans have emitted since the industrial revolution. "It takes tens of years for forests to mature," Crowther explains in the prestigious science magazine Science. "But if we take action now, it can reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by a quarter, to a level that we haven't had for nearly a century."
“It is available now, it is the cheapest one possible and every one of us can get involved. Individuals could make a tangible impact by growing trees themselves, donating to forest restoration organizations and avoiding irresponsible companies", he added.
Greening the world, tree by tree, survey by survey
At Nebu we care about giving back to the world. A thriving business is important, and being grateful and caring about people and the environment is our way of life. We strongly believe that both can go hand in hand. When we heard about EcoMatcher, we immediately saw the possibilities: for our clients, for EcoMatcher, for the environment and for the farmers who grow the trees.
Adopting trees on behalf of your respondents and panel members
On top of growing the Nebu forest, we offer clients the opportunity to reward respondents with trees either per completed interview or as part of a loyalty program for its panel members. Having Nebu Dub InterViewer integrated withEcoMatcherallows its users to offer respondents and panel members a unique reward for completing a survey: a newly planted tree.
By using this as a way of rewarding your respondents or panelists, you achieve higher engagement, increased loyalty and as a result of those, fewer refusals and more completes.
Some of Nebu Dub InterViewer users have already implemented the EcoMatcher flow into their projects.
"While we saw higher levels of employee engagement as a result of this initiative, respondents from Corporate-Suite to Physicians, are also keener to engage in our surveys when we introduce this initiative. This year, Smart Connect Research will take this partnership to another level as we believe this is a win-win for everyone involved," said Felipe Parker, Founder and CEO of Smart Connect Research.