New findings were published on Thursday in Science show just how important a role they could play in climate mitigation efforts by calculating “Earth’s tree carrying capacity. ” Right now there are estimated to be nearly 17 million square miles of forest cover on Earth, and there’s enough room to add another 3. 5 million square miles of trees—a U. S. -sized chunk of land—to sequester even more carbon.
The newly filled out forests would be a huge boon to absorbing new emissions and the carbon pollution we’ve committed to the atmosphere. “The restoration of ecosystems that could support trees is our main weapon to fight climate change,” Jean-François Bastin, the study’s lead author from ETH-Zürich, told Earther in an email. “Restoring the potential areas available, we could store about a quarter of the current amount of carbon held in the atmosphere.