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What would happen to the climate if we reforested the entire tropics?

By Simon Lewis, Professor of Global Change Science at University of Leeds and, UCL
Alexander Koch, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Earth Sciences, University of Hong Kong
Chris Brierley, Associate Professor of Geography, UCL
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What would happen if every single patch of farmland in the tropics, from Brazil through Congo, India and Indonesia, was abandoned overnight and left to turn back into forests? That’s the question we investigated in our new research. Trees and forests have become increasingly important in plans to tackle the climate emergency, yet our work shows that once you factor in how the soil, oceans and other parts of the Earth system would respond, tree planting is not as potent a solution as it may first seem.


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