Clearing or deforestation are a threat to our primeval forests. Of the original more than 60 million square kilometres of beautiful, untouched primeval forests, we have already lost 80%. There are still 7 virgin forests worldwide. The largest and most famous primeval jungle region is the Amazon. In addition, there are the mountain forests of Chile, coastal forests in North America, the tropical rainforests in Central Africa and Southeast Asia, the snow forests in Siberia and the boreal forest zone in Northern Europe. Experts estimate that between 120,000 and 150,000 square kilometres of forest are cut down every year. This corresponds approximately to the area of Greece. The main cause of clearing and deforestation in South America is the extraction of agricultural land for the cultivation and production of grain for factory farming, grassland for cattle and the production of biofuels. In Asia and Africa, it is primarily about the cultivation of palm oil.
Forests are the treasure troves and huge air conditioners for the world. They play an important and essential role in climate protection. Trees cleanse our air, regulate the water cycle on our planet, cool it and are a relatively inexpensive and easily renewable carbon sink. In addition, they are home to more than 80% of the world's biodiversity. An estimated 100 million animal and plant species are native to the jungles. Of the approximately 11 billion tons of CO2 that people alone generate for energy, 30% is absorbed and stored by the land and about 20% by the oceans. Forests and the oceans are the most biodiverse, productive and valuable habitats we have.
At present, forests cover an area of 2.8 billion hectares. A total area of 4.4 billion hectares would be necessary in order to achieve the climate goals and to increase the urgently needed natural CO2 storage (Source: ETH study against climate change). Thus, 1.6 billion hectares would have to be reforested.
A tree can absorb up to 370 litres of water from the ground and release it back into the atmosphere. The evaporation of this absorbed water causes the formation of clouds and precipitation in another place. A tree can absorb up to 10 kilograms of CO2 and other harmful greenhouse gases every year, producing up to 130 kilograms of valuable oxygen over the same period. On a global average, one tree absorbs 10 kilograms of CO2 per year, with the collective CO2 absorption of trees a multiple of that. One ton of absorbed CO2 = 10 trees on a global average (based on the following calculation: 10 kilograms of CO2/year and 10 years of life).
Planting trees is the most effective method for cooling our planet and combating climate change:
1,000 billion trees store about a quarter of the annual CO2 emissions caused by humans and help to achieve the 1.5 degree target agreed to by the 196 national parties that signed the Paris Agreement.
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