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As the world struggles to lower carbon emission in the fight against global warming, climate change continues its onslaught on some countries, with calamitous consequences. Eco-warriors try to mitigate the damage and deaths from super storms, mega floods and heat waves on another battlefront — tree planting.

Scientists estimate there are three trillion trees on Earth while man-made carbon emission in 2019 amounted to 36 billion metric tons (MT). But forests absorb only an average 16 billion MT of carbon dioxide (CO2) yearly with the rest trapped in the atmosphere, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change in March.

Forest activities — land clearing and wood burning — plus wildfires ironically produce 8 billion MT of CO2. With still too much CO2 to clean up, tree planting is a logical countermeasure.

Ecologist Thomas Crowther and his team of researchers estimated that 900 million hectares of land are available for planting forests. Such area the size of the US can hold one trillion trees which can absorb about 20 billion MT of CO2 annually over the next 100 years.

Simon Lewis, a forest ecologist at University College London, led a study that found 350 million hectares of regrown forest can absorb 42 billion MT of CO2 by 2100.

With reforestation a viable weapon to fight global warming, the World Economic Forum launched last year a global campaign to plant one trillion trees. Conservation organizations spearheaded by Plant-for-the-Planet also have their Trillion Tree Campaign.

The Philippines does its share in reforestation. The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) successfully led the Annual Million Trees Challenge movement in growing four million trees over the past four years. It hopes to grow another million trees this year. MWSS officials claimed the campaign increased the forest cover of Ipo Watershed from 43 percent in 2017 to 81 percent in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) head office has a modest way of promoting planting but more for food security during the pandemic than for climate change mitigation. In a twist to the community pantry that gives away food and accepts donated rations, DENR has its Community Pan-tree where the general public can get free seedlings for urban farming and gardening. The Pan-tree at its
Technical Services Office in North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Florida, USA, a Fort Myers businessman grew a tree for the purpose of preventing road mishaps.

Bryan Raymond, who runs a design and printing business, said a pothole in Honda Drive is in private property so it remains unrepaired. Cars have hit the hole, causing rim and tire damage.

To prevent further car mishaps, Raymond recently put a unique sign warning motorists of the pothole. Motorists and workers using the road seemed OK with his idea, saying anything is better than potholes.

The accident-prone spot is now safe as no motorist could avoid the sight of a banana tree on the pothole in the middle of the road.

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