About 15 million trees are chopped down every year. The loss of these trees can cause a wide range of issues for the earth including soil erosion, fewer crops, climate change, flooding, and a rapid increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Deforestation ruins the habitat of many animal species. This can lead to starvation, stress, pain, injury, and death for many that try to find new homes.
Deforestation can even disrupt the water cycle. Fewer trees mean that there's less moisture in the air.
These are all problems that afforestation strives to prevent. What is afforestation, and how can it save the environment? Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about the process.
What Is Afforestation?
Afforestation is the process of planting trees in abandoned areas. Most of the time, abandonment occurs due to bad soil conditions or overgrazing.
No land is a lost cause. It's possible to restore soil conditions in an area and plant new trees or seedlings.
For it to count as afforestation, the area must not have been forested before. Not within the past 100 years, anyway.
Afforestation Vs. Reforestation
Many times, the terms afforestation and reforestation are used interchangeably, but they're a bit different. This is because reforestation is a form of afforestation.
The difference is the land. Afforestation involves starting a brand-new forest from scratch. There have never been trees in the area before.
Reforestation involves planting new trees in a forest that already exists. You're replenishing the area's flora supply, if you will.
Types of Afforestation
There are three different types of afforestation that you should know about. There's commercial plantation, natural regeneration, and agroforestry.
Commercial plantations sprout up with the goal of producing some kind of product, such as paper pulp. These plantations hold in carbon, and when they're chopped down, they release it to some degree.
There are some instances when people clear out natural forests to make way for a commercial plantation.
Out of all the carbon removal solutions out there, natural regeneration is the best option. The new trees take in carbon and keep it out of the air.
Most natural regeneration projects involve planting a wide array of trees. These new forests make a great home for various species of animals, creating a functioning ecosystem.
The point of agroforestry is planting crops such as mangos, nuts, and cacao. Not only does agroforestry create a good source of food for local residents, but it also acts as a form of income.
Agroforestry's effectiveness as far as carbon removal goes depends on the plants. Some are better at absorbing it than others.
Why Is Afforestation Important?
There's more to afforestation than to plant trees. It prevents soil erosion, and after a while, it has the potential to stabilize the climate.
Since trees absorb carbon, forests can improve air quality. Trees create a source of clean water and give homes to wildlife.
Source of Tree Products
It's no secret that trees are in high demand. Unfortunately, trees grow too slowly to meet the demand. This causes people to put a strain on forests to get the trees that they need, which leads to deforestation.
Afforestation creates a consistent source of tree products. In the case of commercial plantation afforestation, stockholders can plant specific trees to meet their needs.
While reforestation is important, afforestation is even more so. Planting trees in empty areas can create a new ecosystem. Local animals will have a place where they can live and thrive.
Planting new trees can take a barren wasteland and turn it into something beautiful, too.
Prevent Soil Erosion
Barren lands experience more windy days than any other area. It stirs the soil around and leads to erosion.
Flooding is also a problem in barren lands. The rainwater can carry away the top layer of soil, which also causes erosion.
Trees act as a barrier against both wind and rain. Roots hold onto the soil and prevent it from shifting no matter how rough the weather gets.
Stabilize the Climate
Trees create moisture in the air. That's why forest areas experience more rain.
Trees also act as a natural AC unit by reducing the greenhouse effect on the environment.
Improved Air Quality
Through photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide, purify it, and pump oxygen back out, thus improving air quality.
Again, trees can reduce the impact of greenhouse gases by eliminating the toxins generated by human activity. Forests prevent soil particles from escaping into the air as well.
People and animals need clean water to live. That's where the watershed comes in. It's a land area that drives rainfall and snow into creeks and streams.
Trees work with watersheds by increasing the chances of rain in an area. Tree roots also hold water in the soil.
As human activity expands, people build into the natural habitat of animals. It can lead to the extinction of species.
Afforestation provides enough trees to make everyone happy. Animals that are pushed out of their natural habitat will have a new place to live.
Saving the Environment with Afforestation
What is afforestation? It's the process of planting trees in barren areas. It can help preserve wildlife and create clean water for many.
It improves air quality and above all else, stabilizes the environment by getting rid of greenhouse gases.
To learn more about afforestation and find out what you can do for the environment, visit the Culture & Life section of our blog.