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Plantation is booming. Here’s how it can help, or harm the planet.

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Plantation is booming. Here’s how it can help, or harm the planet.

For example, eucalyptus grows rapidly and upright, making it an attractive wood product. Native to Australia and some islands to the north, its leaves feed on koalas, which have evolved to tolerate a powerful venom. But in Africa and South America – where trees are widely grown for timber, fuel and increasingly for carbon storage – they offer little value to wildlife. they are Also blamed for worsening water scarcity and forest fires.

Experts acknowledge that forest restoration and carbon sequestration are complex, and that commercial species have a role. People need wood, a renewable product that has a lower carbon footprint than concrete or steel. They need paper and fuel for cooking.

Planting fast-growing species for harvest can sometimes help to preserve the surrounding native forests. And, by strategically linking native species, tree farms can help biodiversity by creating wildlife corridors to connect disconnected habitat areas.

“This restoration movement cannot happen without the private sector,” said Michael Baker, head of communications at 1t.org, created by the World Economic Forum to emphasize the conservation and development of one trillion trees with the help of private investment. A group. , “Historically, there have been bad actors, but we need to get them into the fold and do the right thing.”

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One challenge is that helping biodiversity does not offer the financial return of carbon storage or timber markets.

Many governments set standards for deforestation efforts, but they often offer broad exemptions.

In Wales, one of the countries with the most deforestation in Europe, the government is offering incentives for tree planting. But growers need to include only 25 percent of native species to qualify for government subsidies. In Kenya and Brazil, eucalyptus rows grow on land that was once an ecologically rich forest and savanna. In Peru, a company called Reforsta Per is planting trees on degraded Amazonian lands, but it is increasingly using cloned eucalyptus and teak, which it aims to export.

Investors like them because they bring in better prices, said Enrique Toledo, general manager of Reforsta Peru. “They are an internationally renowned species and there is an unsatisfied demand for the timber.”

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