Protected forests' role in climate change
In short it’s a combination of a nice attempt at reducing the rate of climate change (without doing all we could) but also a tiny bit of greenwashing.
Not in the sense that it doesn’t hold some validity to tackling climate change but more that it’s tackling a symptom rather than directly tackling the problem of overconsumption and justifies continued negligence.
Protected forests absolutely help biodiversity within a set area and contribute to the mini biosphere of that area, regulating a variety of factors involved in climate change, so there’s no real confusion to how they contribute towards a slowdown of climate change but it’s one factor in a large variety of actions and climate tackling tools that would be useful.
Part of the reason for protected forestry is based on their value to us from a medicinal and financial viewpoint. We need plants to help create substances we can’t yet artificially synthesise. It is also financially beneficial to protect some forestry. Think of how much the Amazon rainforest has become a tourist attraction and yes, it is reducing in size but the brutal truth is part of the land is protected because of the economy it generates.
Protected forests are also generally one of the cheapest ways of reducing the rate of climate change without actually tackling consumption and emissions. Yes, tree planting can be very beneficial but it’s like putting a load of plasters over a knife wound; it could absolutely help the issue to some extent but it is really the best resolution?
There is good reason why greater focus is moving towards re-wilding and re-forestation, using the same materials that have been there before rather than just any planting. When looking at forestry, you are also likely to see areas where peat has grown too – this has a very high carbon capture rate and will thrive in an area it has organically grown.
What can we actually do then?
Climate change needs to be tackled at a day to day, habitual level for it to really be improved. Looking at diet, fashion, transport and energy sources would make a significant difference. If a sustainable diet was part of life, you have better farming practices. If sustainable fashion was common practice, you has significantly less carbon emissions from waste and also less natural material being used and thrown away prematurely. If transport had a stronger infrastructure and use of technology to encourage kinetic energy generation and reduced GHGE’s. If energy generation had better retention and storage of renewable energy sources, rather than have it leak out repeatedly, we’d have less of an issue to deal with.
The only way we really tackle climate change isn’t any one method. It’s down to collective education and collective responsibility.