Growing new forests isn’t the same as saving naturally established forests
Sure, offsetting the destruction of centuries old forests by growing new ones is better than doing nothing at all. In some cases. When we grow new forests thoughtfully, with biodiversity at the forefront, and when we then protect these trees from further deforestation.
But replacing the richness of an older forest’s biodiversity and high-quality soil with fast growing monocultures (lots of one type of tree all growing side by side), fuelled by desire to make money, can have devastating effects.
For example, the deadly forest fires Portugal has endured over the last few summers are largely caused by the planting and mismanagement of Eucalyptus trees. These trees are fast growing, great for cutting down to make wood pulp, but terrible for biodiversity because they make it very hard for other types of trees to grow alongside them, and even insects don’t like them. They’re also highly flammable due to their natural oils.
Sounds pretty bad, right?