- What makes you think that planting and conserving trees is one of our best strategies for mitigating climate change?
- Our belief in trees’ power to mitigate climate change is also supported by research conducted by Project Drawdown, one of the world’s most respected climate change focused organizations. The Drawdown team has created an extensive list of the most promising strategies for slowing and reversing climate change, ranked in terms of efficacy. Out of the top twenty solutions on this list, five directly involve trees.
- Tropical Forest Restoration (#5)
- Silvopasture (#11)
- Tree Plantations on Degraded Land (#13)
- Temperate Forest Restoration (#14)
- Perennial Staple Crops (#19)
- Tree Intercropping (#20)
- Additionally, research undertaken by the Crowther Lab strongly indicates that reforestation can put a serious dent in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. An excerpt of the lab’s most influential paper is included below:
“The restoration of forested land at a global scale could help capture atmospheric carbon and mitigate climate change. Bastin et al. used direct measurements of forest cover to generate a model of forest restoration potential across the globe (see the Perspective by Chazdon and Brancalion). Their spatially explicit maps show how much additional tree cover could exist outside of existing forests and agricultural and urban land. Ecosystems could support an additional 0.9 billion hectares of continuous forest. This would represent a greater than 25% increase in forested area, including more than 200 gigatonnes of additional carbon at maturity. Such a change has the potential to store an equivalent of 25% of the current atmospheric carbon pool.”
- All in all, we feel that conservation and reforestation are necessary but not sufficient strategies for addressing climate change. In our opinion, the evidence suggests that radical decarbonization of the economy will also be necessary to avoid catastrophic levels of warming.
- In addition to trees ability to draw down carbon, we feel that the other benefits that they offer set them a step ahead of artificial carbon technologies. If you’d like to read about some of these benefits, click here.
- Won’t planting a trillion trees will displace soil carbon? Couldn’t this have a negative effect on the climate?
- Short answer: not if said trees are planted in the right places.
- If we establish our forest regeneration and plantation projects in the right places, they should always have a net beneficial effect on soil carbon. In general, growing trees leads to net drawdown, relative to any other type of land use. Especially relative to letting land that has already been cleared and or degraded sit fallow.
- However, there is a very important exception to this rule. When forested land is cleared to create a monoculture plantation, research strongly suggests that the net effect on the climate is negative. Teratree never intends to clear forested land in order to establish a monoculture plantation.
- Is it possible that you’ll crash global markets if you reach your intended scale, thereby destroying your own value proposition?
- We believe demand for wood is about to explode, due to improvements in wood-based construction methods and population growth, and that these factors will insure strong demand for wood for decades to come, regardless of what size we scale to.
- If you would like to learn more about the supporting our belief in the growth of the market for wood, click here.
- How is planting trees with the goal of cutting them down a good thing?
- When trees die and decompose much of the carbon that they sequestered is eventually released back into the atmosphere.
- If a mature tree is cut and its wood is used to create a building, the carbon the tree sequestered over the course of its lifespan will remain out of the atmosphere for as long as the building stands.
- After trees reach a certain age, their yearly growth slows significantly, and with it, the amount of carbon they drawdown per unit of time. Therefore, a patch of forested land will actually end up sequestering more carbon in the long run if it is periodically harvested, rather than if it was allowed to grow indefinitely.
- Some critics argue that the sale of U.S based carbon credits leads to the sequestration of significantly less carbon than credit providers claim. Do you have a take on this issue?
- While it’s true that there are some issues with current carbon credit schemes, we feel that overall, they are an effective way of incentivizing land use that leads to significants amount of carbon drawdown. We also feel that much of the criticism of carbon credits has been somewhat disingenuous and has relied on cherry picked data that does not paint an accurate picture of the efficacy U.S carbon credit system as a whole.
- Critics say that estimates of the amount of carbon that tree plantations sequester are significantly overblown. How does Teratree plan to address these concerns?
- This criticism largely stems from fact that that carbon is often released when land covered by natural forests is converted into plantations, and because the use of plantation products often generates greenhouse gas emissions.
- We plan on selling the trees we grow for use in construction as opposed to bioenergy or other polluting activities. By doing so, we will insure that the carbon they have sequestered does not return to the atmosphere any time in the near future.
- We will create plantations on barren and degraded land, instead of clearing forests to make way for their creation. When plantations are created on such land, the net effect on the climate is beneficial.
- Plantations don’t sequester carbon as well as natural forests. Given this fact, how can you justify creating plantations as part of your business plan?
- There isn’t enough economic incentive at the moment to allow natural forests to regrow. Therefore, we feel it is necessary to initially plant trees that create some sort of marketable product.
- Natural forests are better than plantations in terms of their ability to sequester CO2, but plantations are far better than other forms of agriculture, or simply letting barren land sit idle (in terms of their sequestration ability).
- Project Drawdown, a leading climate change research organization, has stated that plantations are among the top fifteen most effective climate change mitigation strategies in existence.
- Do you plan on working with indigenous groups?
- Yes. We feel that by engaging with indigenous groups, we will conduct a more ethical and effective organization, and that our actions will be of greater benefit to both humanity and the environment.