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Planting trees in the wrong places could be contributing to global warming, study reveals

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Euronews or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: A new study in Nature Communications highlights the complex effects of tree-planting on climate, revealing that in certain locations, it may actually contribute to global warming due to changes in albedo, which is the planet's ability to reflect sunlight

🔭 The context: Traditionally, forests are viewed as vital carbon sinks, crucial in combating climate change
• However, this research suggests the cooling benefits of trees can be offset by their impact on albedo, especially in areas where forests absorb more sunlight, leading to increased planetary heat

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: While forests are essential carbon sinks, the study underscores the importance of strategic reforestation
• Planting trees in areas like the Amazon and Congo Basin can optimize climate benefits due to high carbon storage and minimal albedo changes, whereas temperate regions might not offer the same advantages

⏭️ What's next: The findings call for a more nuanced approach to reforestation, prioritizing locations where planting can have the maximum positive impact on the climate
• This strategic selection could enhance the efficacy of tree-planting campaigns as a tool against global warming

💬 One quote: "Not all efforts deliver for the planet equally," indicating the need for more targeted and scientifically informed reforestation practices.

📈 One stat: Reforestation efforts, even in optimal locations, may offer 20% less cooling than previously estimated when accounting for changes in albedo.

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