Is tree-planting a cure-all solution for deforestation?

Tree planting has been a common solution for companies and nations to combat the effects of climate change and deforestation. Just recently, Viet Nam revealed a new government policy on the one-billion tree program. The policy aims to plant one billion trees across the nation by 2025.

Whilst the efforts are laudable, tree planting should not be taken as a cure-all. Stakeholders need to make science-based decisions, and consider multiple aspects of planting:

– Density of the trees: Trees need a network to thrive.The location of the replanting efforts – not all lands are suitable for reforestation.
– The species of trees used should be native and non-invasive.
– Benefits arising from the project need to be spread equally across the local community.
– Account for transparency of the projects through public disclosure.

Overall to maximise impact, the focus on planting needs to be shifted to tree conservation and growth as well as forest restoration and management.