Aadya Joshi looks out at eucalyptus trees. They were planted to replace a forest. Eucalyptus trees don’t grow naturally here in India. Native trees should have been planted, she says.
Joshi started The Right Green.
It teaches people about biodiversity and growing native trees (see “Biodiversity”). Planting new trees “sounds like a good idea,” she says. “But what [people are] doing in many places is not restoring forests. They’re just replanting.” There’s a difference.
Trees are important to the health of the planet. They help clean the air. But many trees have been cut down.
Some efforts to replant trees make things worse. This happened in Chile, in South America. Big companies cut down forests for timber. Then they replanted trees. But they used the wrong kinds and created tree plantations. “They’re not really what we imagine a forest to be,” Robert Heilmayr says. “These trees are more like a crop.”
Heilmayr is a professor. He says tree plantations are not as good as forests are at cleaning the air.
Restoration Done Right
Restoring native forests should benefit people. That’s according to Bernadette Arakwiye of the World Resources Institute (WRI) Forest Program, in Africa. “People are a part of the environment,” she says. One WRI program will restore thousands of miles of forest by 2030.
Joshi says planting native trees fights climate change. People are working together to do the job right.
Biodiversity is the variety of living things in a habitat. An environment needs diversity. Diversity maintains balance. For example, insects carry pollen from plant to plant. Plants need it to make seeds. The seeds grow into plants. Plants provide food for insects. Insects become food for frogs. You can help protect biodiversity. Learn about the plants and animals in your area. Join efforts to plant native trees.