Is reforestation good "geo-engineering"?

Recently an article in the international press touted the promise of massive reforestation as a way to "capture carbon" out of the atmosphere. Some claimed perhaps erroneously that a trillion trees could suck 25% of the additional CO2 in the atmosphere. Then more skeptical articles appeared that questioned the concept and quantification. At the heat of the debate is the whole idea of "carbon capture". Now a study has been published that looks at the limits of carbon capture in forests stressed with fires, drought and heat.


I do not want to confuse my students on carbon capture. I think there are myriad benefits to reforestation that are broader than the climate component alone (biodiversity). But reforestation can't include commercial monocrops for lumber production. We need to bring complexity back to ecosystems we have simplified. Clearly stopping the burning of fossil fuels is paramount. But what of the CO2 that is already there and will be there for a long time to come? Trees have to be in the mix I think.

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