An article recently published in Science, titled "The global tree restoration potential," presented what it called "the most effective solution at our disposal to mitigate climate change." The lead author is Jean-François Bastin, an ecologist affiliated with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). The article reports the results of a study in which Bastin and collaborators used remote sensing and modeling techniques to estimate that forest restoration in areas totaling 900 million hectares worldwide could store 205 gigatons of carbon.
The study has been contested by a large international group of ecologists led by Joseph Veldman, a professor in Texas A&M University's Department of Ecosystem Science and Management (U.S.). At the invitation of the editors of Science, the group formulated a reply, now published under the title "Comment on 'The global tree restoration potential.'" Its authors include William Bond, Emeritus Professor in the University of Cape Town's Department of Biological Sciences (South Africa) and considered the world's foremost expert on savanna ecology. Several Brazilian researchers also co-authored the reply, including Giselda Durigan, affiliated with the São Paulo State Forestry Institute's Ecology and Hydrology Laboratory.
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"The plan proposed by Bastin et al. is based on flawed calculations and is actually a threat to the planet's savannas, meadows and water resources," Durigan said.
Bastin and collaborators made "extremely basic mistakes," she added, such as including among reforestable areas Yellowstone National Park in the U.S., Los Llanos in Venezuela (considered one of the world's most important ecosystems), and the Cerrado in Brazil.
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The Cerrado is the world's most biodiverse tropical savanna and gives rise to some of Brazil's major rivers, such as the Xingu, Tocantins, Araguaia, São Francisco, Parnaíba, Gurupi, Jequitinhonha, Paraná and Paraguay, among others.
"Unfortunately, the key premises used in the study and the calculations performed by the authors are incorrect, resulting in a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org