Restoring natural landscapes is a cheap and effective way to combat the climate crisis and loss of wildlife, according to a study published in Nature and reported in the Guardian.
Protecting areas still in good condition, and restoring a third of the planet’s most degraded ecosystems, would store carbon equivalent to half of all emissions since the Industrial Revolution. It would also prevent 70% of predicted species extinctions.
Currently only 1% of finance devoted to the climate crisis goes to nature restoration.
Properly planned restoration won’t be at the expense of food production. 55% of farmland can be restored to nature, and other farming intensified so that we still produce enough to feed the world.
Tree-planting has to be done in the right locations and not on peatlands, wetlands or savannahs, which are important habitats in their own right.
Oceans also offer an opportunity to store CO2 and mitigate loss of biodiversity, according to Richard Unsworth, senior lecturer in marine biology at Swansea University. ‘We need restored ocean habitats such as seagrass and oysters to help promote biodiversity but also to help secure future food supply through fisheries, and lock up carbon from our atmosphere.’