We need massive global reforestation to stabilize our climate
Global ecosystem restoration is the lowest-cost, lowest-risk, and most politically feasible carbon drawdown solution available. And it’s shovel-ready.
As the world scrambles to cut fossil fuel emissions, we must also draw carbon back out of the atmosphere to avoid climate collapse. And the most effective drawdown tools on Earth are all around us: trees. Forests suck carbon out of the atmosphere to fuel their growth, acting as living carbon storage tanks.
Terraformation develops technology to help partners successfully carry out large-scale, sustainable restoration projects. We help forest creators establish climate-controlled, native species seed banks, tackle freshwater shortages with low-cost, solar-powered desalination, and optimize forest health with open-source landscape monitoring software.
Two to three billion acres of degraded forest and drylands are available for restoration. This excludes croplands, human settlements, biomes where forests aren’t ecologically appropriate, and regions in which albedo loss would outweigh carbon gains. Restoring these landscapes to their natural states would recapture decades of historic emissions and close the gap between ongoing pollution reduction efforts, and our remaining carbon budget.
Native ecosystems are key to long-term success
One-size-fits-all solutions won't work. Terraformation develops site-specific, ecologically- and community-adapted plans for long-term success.
Many reforestation efforts rely exclusively on fast-growing, single-species tree plantations for harvest on a quick rotation cycle. While these projects may offer near-term economic opportunities, they have little climate benefit, holding hardly more carbon than the degraded land they replace. What’s more, they often fail in short order due to ecological instability, disregard of local environmental factors, and neglect of local expertise.
Biologically complex, native ecosystems capture nearly 40 times the carbon of single-species tree plantations and are far more resilient to drought, flooding, fire, and a range of other weather events sure to occur over decades of growth. They also offer a rich array of additional benefits that monoculture projects can’t deliver, like water and air purification, local climate moderation, and wildlife habitat.
Local plants aren't the only ingredient for long-term success. Local communities also have unmatched knowledge about their homes. Deep-rooted partnerships form another cornerstone of success.
Tackling freshwater shortages
Restoring ecosystems requires both deep ecological knowledge and the right tools.
Soils degrade quickly once stripped of their native plant cover, making it difficult to reestablish anchor species without supplemental freshwater. The challenge is especially acute in naturally arid regions, which hold 40 percent of the world’s soil carbon and harbor some of the rarest and most valuable biodiversity on Earth. Unsustainable agriculture and harvesting have desertified some 1 billion dryland acres.
Unfortunately, existing freshwater shortages make restoration slow, or nearly impossible in many of these regions. Projects that move forward without careful planning can over-tax existing water supplies on which local communities depend.
Reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration removes salts from brackish or ocean water, and could generate supplemental freshwater for restoration projects. But until recently this technology has been prohibitively expensive to apply at scale.
In the last three years, solar technology advances have dramatically slashed the cost of this renewable energy source. It's now possible to operate low-cost, carbon-neutral, and off-grid RO systems nearly anywhere. Terraformation offers partners customized RO technology, unlocking large-scale restoration opportunities in regions ecologists previously considered some of the most challenging on the planet.
Three billion acres of opportunity
Reforestation and restoration opportunities exist on every continent, and in nearly every country, on Earth.
One of the benefits of this climate solution is that it requires no sweeping global commitments, no time wasted in bickering environmental agreements down to the lowest common denominator.
Success depends on providing the right tools to a diverse network of forest creators around the world, communities ready to generate new income streams from sustainable harvest of forest products, agroforestry, silvopasture, and carbon credit sales. Each of these benefits grow along with the recovering ecosystems.
While the sweep of action needed is massive, it’s also achievable. Progress can happen at any scale, and in nearly any community, across the globe. And the diversity of action will make that progress more resilient---every community brings unique perspectives, methods, and knowledge to this global effort.
How long will we wait?
Terraformation provides partners around the world with the tools, training, and resources to restore native ecosystems, stabilize our climate, and generate new revenue streams.
These tools, in partnership with local communities, can accelerate drawdown in this critical decade for climate action. This is the moment when we must all fight to preserve a livable climate for ourselves, our children, and the rich diversity of species with whom we share this planet.
The question is: how long will we wait?
Terraformation has already begun. Join us.