Businesses ought to cease the practice of planting trees and instead focus on safeguarding forests

Protecting Forests – The Imperative Shift for Businesses

Investing in the preservation of forests stands as the paramount strategy for augmenting forest carbon sequestration and bolstering biodiversity. Affirmations of tree planting commitments have evolved into a nearly ubiquitous emblem of corporate dedication to environmental stewardship, notwithstanding the prevalent instances of project setbacks, inadvertent adverse effects, and the dearth of answerability. Exceeding 100 corporations spanning 148 nations have pledged allegiance to the World Economic Forum’s Trillion Tree initiative. Moreover, a recent inquiry discerned that 98 percent of the Fortune 500 enterprises in France, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have participated in arboreal restoration endeavors over the bygone two decades.

Companies attribute the surge in this trend to carbon offsetting, remediation, sustainable sourcing, communications, and marketing, as well as team building. With 90 percent of Americans endorsing tree planting, it emerges as a favorable agenda for businesses and politicians striving to curry favor with crucial stakeholders. However, is it the apt strategy for addressing the biodiversity and climate crises? Evidence indicates otherwise, and herein lies the rationale.

Protecting forests should take priority over planting new ones

Tree planting initiatives frequently result in a decline in biodiversity, pushing us farther from attaining a nature-affirming globe. Mexico’s Sowing Life initiative, in its inaugural year, decimated over 180,000 acres of forest due to an ill-conceived incentive framework. Similarly, China’s Grain for Green campaign diminished the nation’s indigenous forest cover by 6.6 percent by fostering monoculture tree plantations. Additionally, projects worldwide have obliterated non-forested ecosystems such as grasslands, shrublands, and peatlands through afforestation, the practice of planting trees in areas where forests naturally wouldn’t thrive.

Notwithstanding the multitude of campaigns and commitments, forests persist in vanishing worldwide at an unparalleled pace. Even supposing we could plant a sufficient number of trees to match the ongoing rate of forest depletion, the attributes that render forests enduring carbon reservoirs and bastions of biodiversity—namely, towering trees, mature ecosystems, and soil accretion—demand centuries to regenerate.

Tree Cover Lost Map
Source: World Resources Institute

Halting additional damage to ecosystems stands out as the best, swiftest, and most economical method to amplify the absorption of carbon by forests and bolster the diversity of land-based life. Rather than simply promising tree planting initiatives, businesses ought to dedicate themselves to enacting trustworthy measures against deforestation and allocating resources toward safeguarding forests beyond their immediate procurement networks.

In the absence of sustained stewardship, forest protection will fail

Out of the forests that endure in their pristine state, a staggering 82 percent have suffered degradation owing to human interventions. This encompasses forests that have been officially designated as protected areas. The repercussions of this degradation encompass the encroachment upon land and the infringement of territorial rights, deterioration in health and food security, alterations in microclimate and water resources, depletion of biodiversity, and the collapse of indigenous economies. Furthermore, degraded forests fall short of realizing their complete capacity for carbon sequestration.

Mere protection is insufficient; even protected forests remain vulnerable to escalating temperatures, fluctuations in water availability, heightened frequency and intensity of wildfires, emergence of new pathogens, and the introduction of non-native species.

Resilient forests necessitate continual guardianship. In numerous forested locales, this entails tackling the socio-political factors that precipitate deforestation and degradation in the first place. Tree planting initiatives are frequently touted as offering economic advantages to local communities, including small-scale farmers. However, these endeavors falter when planted trees are left unattended, the land is repurposed for activities other than restoration, or the land is re-cleared.

One of the most effective ways to foster lasting forest resilience lies in protecting the rights of rural communities and indigenous communities to determine land management strategies. Forests under Indigenous stewardship harbor the majority of Earth’s remaining biodiversity and exhibit higher carbon sequestration rates compared to those managed by other entities. In addition to advocating for more robust land titling legislation in regions of resource procurement, corporations should institute unequivocal policies that uphold the principles of free, prior, and informed consent before engaging in any endeavors within Indigenous-owned forests.

The best place for tree planting is not in a forest

The act of planting trees differs significantly from safeguarding or rehabilitating forests. However, there exist several scenarios where tree planting serves as a vital tool in achieving the desired outcome.

Notably, in urban areas, particularly in neighborhoods historically neglected by local authorities, tree planting holds immense significance. Striving for tree equity within cities yields numerous advantages, such as enhanced air and water quality, mitigation of extreme temperatures, and overall improvement in the quality of life. A prime illustration of this is American Forests’ commitment to planting and preserving 1.2 million trees in urban areas across the United States.

This action goes beyond planting trees to establish a community management model. The endeavor encompasses various components, such as setting up tree nurseries in urban areas to offer cost-effective tree stock, organizing educational sessions for local stakeholders, cultivating disease- and pest-resistant tree varieties that demand minimal maintenance, creating job opportunities for marginalized communities, and designing innovative financial mechanisms for better forestry. Some prominent corporate sponsors include Bank of America, Timberland, Foot Locker, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, and Salesforce.


I'm Noricson, an AI expert on the Noricson.com team. My expertise lies in machine learning and natural language processing. I'm dedicated to enhancing the personalized experience on our website, ensuring that our users receive accurate recommendations and have exceptional interactions.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
End-of-2023 Home Activity Alternatives Dieticians Suggests These Two High Protein Diet For Weight Loss Tom Wilkinson From ‘The Full Monty’ Passes Away At 75