Climate Action

African Nations Reforestation Plan Just the Beginning, Hopefully

Fifteen years from now – in 2031 – Africa may very well be much much greener. That is the plan anyhow. Coming out of the 2015 COP meeting in Paris, six different African nations agreed to take part in the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100). That might not sound like much, but the program has the full support of the African Union and international support and financing to the tune of $1.5 billion. It also has four additional African nations very close to joining in. What will this accomplish? The six nations have pledged to restore 78.3 million acres of degraded and/or deforested land within their borders. That is a piece of land the size of New Mexico – the fifth largest state. On top of that, AFR100 will offer economic benefits for the local inhabitants all while providing millions of new trees to sequester carbon and fight the effects of climate change. Now the climate conference is barely a month old. All we have right now are the agreements from several nations. But there is no reason to believe this cannot be replicated in India, in China, in South America, and in Southeast Asia. Even in Canada and Russia where massive swaths of forest are being lost while no one is watching. Greatly reducing our fossil fuel use is good. Stopping it all together is better. But the other side of that coin is dealing with the carbon that has already been and will be released. That is where forests come in. They are one of the best natural carbon sinks on the planet. And they do so much more. We all know preserving and enlarging forests is important. But not everyone knows just how important they are…and why. Six African nations have started this process. More need to step up to the plate…and not just in Africa. This is an idea that needs to be spread worldwide.