On the various lists of things you can do to improve the environment, tree planting is consistently rated highly. It improves the local greenery, removes carbon dioxide from the environment and is a tactile reminder that you’ve done your part. This week, however, articles in Nature and The Guardian reveal that it’s not as green as we’ve been thinking.
Done properly, large-scale tree planting has a hugely beneficial effect. However, it will also deplete groundwater and nutrient supplies – and release carbon into the atmosphere if the forest is logged or burned. As usual, nothing is ever simple. The Guardian report has some good guidelines for investing in carbon-reducing projects.