Trees are most needed in the tropical zone but also in almost all regions in the world.
The tropical zone is the most suitable planting location to fight climate change and deforestation. But trees have so many benefits for the environment and people, that it's necessary to look beyond carbon and understand their specific benefits in each region. Almost all regions can benefit from having more trees, but providing the species selection for a project is also very important for its mission.
The tropical zone (the area in between the two tropics) is where trees receive the most sunlight and where natural conditions are ideal for trees to grow. Therefore, this is where trees can capture the maximum CO2 and at the fastest rate. At the same time, this location is where rainforests host about 85% of all terrestrial species, and where we have the most deforestation, threatening many species on the brink of extinction.
Other regions with arid or desert climates are not ideal for capturing CO2, however, planting trees in these regions can play a significant role in avoiding malnutrition and famines. Tree species with deep root systems excel in fighting desertification.
In Europe or the US, there is no imminent threat of deforestation, in fact, there are more trees every year. Here, trees grow at a slower pace making these regions less of a priority in the fight against climate change. But other threats loom, like our dramatic loss of insects (read the Insect Apocalypse) giving us strong reasons to plant in these areas and to promote agroforestry as a more sustainable way to handle our agriculture.
Some specific regions pop up in the news because of forest fires, like Brazil or Australia. It's important to plant there too (and we do) but while the media buzz focuses on the urgency and quickly vanishes once the fire cycle stops, it's essential to understand those problems require long-term solutions and continuous dedication.
Read also: Where are the projects located? and How to select a project and species?
Why the tropics - explained in 3 graphs:
Nowadays, thanks to strong laws that protect forests in developed countries, the problem of deforestation has moved to the tropics. There, political infrastructure is often too weak to provide adequate control of their forests.
85% of our terrestrial biodiversity lives in the tropics and is therefore threatened by deforestation, with many species on the cusp of extinction.
People living in the tropical zone have some of the lowest incomes, and this means two things:
1. They don't have either the financial or political resources to tackle the deforestation problem by themselves.
2. Planting trees here will provide them with better sources of income, thus tackling a social problem at the same time as an environmental one.