New research checks the math of large-scale tree planting

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In our first science-focused episode of Carbon Removal Newsroom, hosts Radhika Moolgavkar of Nori and Holly Jean Buck of the University at Buffalo are joined by our new science co-host, Dr. Jane Zelikova, executive director of the Soil Carbon Solutions Center and joint faculty in crop and soil science at Colorado State University.

First this week, we’re looking at new research showing, “Limited effects of tree planting on forest canopy cover and rural livelihoods in Northern India,” and understanding why one researcher referred to the large-scale tree planting program in Northern India as a failure. We explain the significance of these research findings and the potential improvements necessary to ensure that tree planting achieves its stated goals of sequestering carbon dioxide, increasing biodiversity, and improving the livelihoods of local communities.

Plus, a recent Twitter thread from German journalist Tin Fischer tells the story of a “Trillion Trees,” a figure that hardly held substance when first suggested, then took off in popular culture faster than climate scientists could shut it down. While it’s a catchy idea, the scientific paper used to support Trillion Trees in 2017 was widely critiqued for miscalculations and ultimately rescinded. We look at why this idea gained so much traction and what the realistic role of large-scale tree planting might be in drawing down carbon and addressing climate change.

Finally, we put reforestation up against the portfolio of carbon removal solutions, looking at where it fits in and how it should be funded.

We close out the episode with a good news story from Radhika on the winning bears of fat bear week in Alaska!

Let us know what you think of the show by reaching out to [email protected], we'd love to hear your feedback!

Resources

The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting

The Oxford Offsetting Principles & carbon removal, w/ Eli Mitchell-Larson on Reversing Climate Change

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